Sandhill Cranes spotted in De Pere neighborhood

Sandhill Cranes feeding in De Pere, August 31, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

DE PERE (WLUK) -- A visit from some prehistoric wildlife to a De Pere neighborhood has people taking notice.

Two Sandhill Cranes were spotted Thursday morning on the city's southwest side.

The cranes were spotted crossing Samantha Street, and were headed for Gary and Vicki Gilsoul's backyard.

"They're huge. They kind of almost look like pterodactyls but they're gorgeous," said Vicki Gilsoul, De Pere.

The Sandhills started eating typical crane food, but it wasn't long before they discovered a bird seed dispenser, which was just the right height for the four-foot tall feathered feeders.

"We just had them come visit about three four days ago, and they come back every day. I don't know if it's the bird feeders," said Gary Gilsoul, De Pere.

And while watching the neighborhood cranes may be interesting, experts say the Sandhills are wild animals, and people should use caution around the big birds.

"They can be at eye level of a human, which really is something we need to be concerned about when we talk about safety as well," said Lori Bankson, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary Curator of Animals.

Bankson says the cranes could be an adult pair, or a single parent with a younger bird.

"Cranes, because they are a more adaptable bird, they can become what's called habituated. They can get used to the environment around them. And what's really important for wildlife is having that food source," she said.

Passing cars had little effect on the cranes. A barking dog didn't seem to phase them either.

"It's not that common, but we have heard about it before, cranes becoming used to people," said Bankson.

And while the cranes seem to be used to people, the Gilsouls are still excited to watch the neighborhood cranes.

"We've never really seen anything like that around here. But it's really cool to see them," said Vicki Gilsoul.

Animal experts say the crane population in Wisconsin stands at about 10,700 That's typical of the trend over the last 10 years or so.

We contacted the De Pere Police Department. They say as of yet, they have no problems or calls about Sandhill Cranes.

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