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Animal Spirits and Totems: Cranes

I see lots of sandhill cranes at a distance near my home and have always loved their prehistoric beauty.

Cranes have long been associated with royalty, balance, grace, and longevity.

Cranes have long been associated with royalty, balance, grace, and longevity.

Crane Facts

Cranes are large, long-necked birds that live and breed near water. Cranes that live near large bodies of water tend to be whiter in color, while those that live in forested areas near small lakes tend to have gray plumage.

Endangered Species

Fifteen species of cranes exist in the world, and all are at least threatened, if not endangered. These birds are found on every continent except Antarctica and South America. The largest species is the sarus crane. It stands at 6 feet tall on average, with an 8-foot wingspan, and is the world’s tallest flying bird.

Unlike herons, for which they are often mistaken, cranes fly with their necks stretched out straight. Their long beaks can be used like spears to fish or scare predators. Their call is a sort of purr, or garbled sound, not at all like a duck or goose.

Some cranes are migratory, and others stay in the same location year-round.

In recent years, the North American sandhill crane has made an encouraging comeback. The sandhill crane is now the only crane species that is stable and/or slowly increasing, although some subspecies, like the Florida sandhill crane, are still endangered. Like all cranes, sandhill cranes are very secretive about their nesting and will even daub themselves with mud to make themselves less visible when rearing young. Recently, a 10,000,000-year-old fossil of a sandhill crane was found in Nebraska, making it the oldest known bird species in existence.

Familial Groups, Mating Behaviors, and Life Expectancy

Cranes have small families of only one or two chicks, hence their secrecy about their nests. These tend to be piles of mud and sticks hidden in remote wetlands. Cranes mate for life and start reproducing somewhere between their third and fifth year.

All cranes engage in dancing behavior, especially when mating. Dancing can also be used to repel a threat. Stick tossing is often a part of a crane dance routine.

Cranes can live 20 to 30 years in the wild, but in captivity, they can live much longer. The oldest in captivity lived to be 82 years old.

The two greatest threats to cranes are the destruction of their natural wetland habitats and their capture for the illegal pet trade.

Cranes in Legend and Spirituality

Cranes have long been associated with royalty, balance, grace, and longevity. The crane is a prehistoric animal and looks like one, yet is also very beautiful and graceful.

They can often be seen standing in shallow water standing on one leg, and their beautiful dancing also speaks to their incredible sense of balance and grace.

Secrecy, Protection, and Balance

When a crane comes into your life as a spirit teacher or totem, you are being asked to use your past as a source of strength in the present. They tend to appear in the lives of people who are well served by some degree of secrecy in their lives. The crane teaches about keeping your own counsel, protection of family, and balance in life above all else.

Success and Fortune

A crane totem is also a harbinger of long life and success. People with crane medicine are more revered by others than they imagine and have long, successful lives. They are protective, wise, and gracious. They choose their battles carefully, choosing quiet wisdom and privacy over aggression.

An encounter with a crane is a powerful experience. You are being asked to look inward, show fairness to all persons, and protect your wisdom while sharing it in appropriate ways. In short, you are being shown the way to balance and good fortune.

The crane is a powerful and auspicious totem in almost all cultures. One exception is Celtic Britain, where cranes were associated with death, treachery, war, and evil women. The crane was one of the various shapes taken by the King of the Celtic Underworld, Annwn.

Longevity, Immortality, and Problem-Solving

In China and Japan, cranes were associated with longevity, immortality, and prosperity. In Japan, because of their permanent pair bonds, cranes were often featured on bridal kimonos. Sweet cakes to be served at Japanese weddings are often baked in the shape of cranes for good luck.

As a character in Aesop’s fables, the crane is often portrayed as a problem-solver and a wise teacher. In one story, a crane retrieves a fish from a long, narrow bottle by dropping stones in it, one by one, until the fish is reached easily.

A popular Native American story features a pet crane that saves its owners from destruction at enemy hands, giving its own life in the process.

A sandhill crane and chick.

A sandhill crane and chick.

My Personal Experience

I often walk my dog around a large prairie here that is kept by a university and is open to the public. It is bordered on one side by large woods that hide a wetland and a small lake. Wildlife is plentiful there and sandhill cranes can often be spotted near the wetland areas.

Several months ago, I was walking along the edge of the prairie, which has a paved path. It’s a great place to walk after a rain, because you don’t have to get the bottoms of your pants all wet or wear muck boots. As I was heading back toward my car with the dog, I heard a strange whirring sound that I did not recognize.

I looked up, and there was a large sandhill crane flying above me, making that noise. I was so excited I almost started whooping (that’s a different sort of crane), but I didn’t because what happened next was even more unusual (for me, anyway).

Instead of flying over us and just going about its business, the crane circled us three times as I gazed at it. My dog could not have cared less. Then, when it was sure I had seen that (or so it seemed), it continued on toward the southwest, which, oddly enough, is where our house is.

I’ve seen lots of sandhill cranes at a distance and have always loved their prehistoric beauty, but up until that moment, I had never had one interact with me in any way. They tend to keep their distance, and who could blame them? When I got home, puzzling over it, I thought, "Well, maybe it was warning us." But we were far from the lake and wetlands and, in fact, were on the very outermost perimeter of the prairie, closer to civilization than anywhere else in the 100 acres that form the preserve.

But I was, during that time, working with intention and protection in my spiritual life, and walking in the morning was one of my main times to practice this. In fact, among other things, my practice involved learning to invoke and welcome a protective circle of light around me as I walked and trusting it to remain throughout my day.

I was also considering focusing more intently on the paranormal in my writing life, but for a number of reasons was considering writing under a pseudonym for the first time in my life. I still had some doubts and reservations about it all, but the crane circling me overhead seemed to be saying, "Hey, you are on the right track. Keep it up."

It seemed to me that the crane had traced and affirmed both my protective circle and my positive intent, and though it may sound strange, it was a very powerful moment for me. (I can’t speak for the crane.)

Have you had experiences with cranes? If so, please feel free to share them here.

Sandhill cranes in Wisconsin.

Sandhill cranes in Wisconsin.

© 2012 Pamela Hutson


Sunny in San Diego on May 13, 2020:

I live in the east part of San Diego. There are two lakes on either side of where I live, but they are each at least 8-10 miles away. One morning, I saw something white at the corner of my eye, about 6 feet from my front door, and there it was. A white beautiful crane. I got a picture of it and took some video but as I tried to get closer, it flew away. That was awesome.

Laura on January 27, 2020:

I just today had an experience hence why I am searching. So here is what I posted today: On my walk by the pond I stopped and did some yoga as well to do some focused energy release. I'm admiring the birds and ducks when all the sudden one crane swoops toward another and that crane takes flight. As I walk up the hill toward the freeway I see him on the small patch of grass in the highway divide. I waited for a while went up and down the hill a few times to check on him and as cars are zooming buy and I'm visualizing "frogger" in my head, I feel hopeless to help him. I decide (no phone on me) to run home and call highway patrol as literally this is a big bird and with no room for take off he may hit someone's windshield or cause an accident. As soon as I got off the phone and walked the 5 houses to get to my trail guess who was standing right in the field by my house? This beautiful white crane...but was it the one who swooped on him or the one in the center divide. I had to see, my heart could not rest until I was sure he was okay. So I walked the mile up to where I am in view of the freeway, praying to God not to see feathers and to my delight he was gone. As I walked back down the hill and over the pathways to my home the crane was still in the field by my home. He as soon as I came to view just watched me for a bit walking back towrd my home. Mind you there is construction with banging loud music etc going on now so there is no wildlife for the past few months. I was just awe struck and then he literally started following me almost like he knew what I had done. He knew my heart and how much I cared and was saying thank you I love you too. I also , just that morning had woken to a dream of being with my beautiful Joe and with a warm heart. It sounds odd to some but if you lived my life you'd see it's just another beautiful sign that I should not maybe worry so much about things I cannot change. To not worry about those mean birds that swoop down on you and then place you in stressful and unhealthy positions. It was a sign to release the negative and embrace the positive in my life. It was a sign from God that everything happens for a reason and although you temporarily may feel sad, insecure or attacked, that all will pass and everything will be okay. I then came home to my mentor sending us (a group of 70) our regular bible study email with a separate email message telling me he was thinking a lot about me this morning and if there was anything I wished him and his church to pray for. Look for the amazing signs of life when faced with diversity, God is here and he loves you.

jayanthi reji on January 11, 2020:

i do often see a crane flying above me with a noise and it will sit in my neighbours terrace. I watched this twice or thrice. I had an inner voice that behind this some thing the universe is trying to tell me. Because i only will keenly watch this and long to see this crane daily. So i searche about this in Google. I understood it is good luck and for protection. The message is really soothening my heart.

MICHELLE GALLETTO on November 18, 2019:

I drove to Deland Florida a family member lives on a Gold Course.. she is dying of cancer.. out of no where they flew majestic. I went out to view them closer and video them..they began to dance for me and beautiful. They stayed fora while then left. She is passing as we speak.

Lloyd Behrendt on October 22, 2019:

have had a pair of sandhills in my Florida marsh as family for near 10 years now. I take pics of them raising their chicks with my Rocket Shooter lens every day while they have chicks. They have 'cooed' at me after we were reunited after a 2 year hiatus, and often do the neck rubbing behavior, which I have come to take as a sign of affection. cheers, Lloyd Behrendt, Blue Sawtooth Studio, Malabar, Florida ps, I got the town I live in to declare itself a Crane Sanctuary and Sandhills as a Town Bird. sadly, we lose too many to cars that are not careful as they walk their chicks on 'their' roads

Gina on July 08, 2019:

For the past 4 days now 4 Sandhill cranes have been on my property at the front of my house. Looks like 2 adults and 2 adolescents. I have bird feeders and they have been going after what falls from them, but even when there is no seed they stick around, sleep, and drink from the pond. They also interact with the six deer and one baby on the property. When I come down my 200 ft driveway they run towards me and start flapping their big wings as if to excitedly greet me. They're not afraid of me and either are the deer. I've always had a connection with animals but lately the animals are connecting with me. :). I have to wonder if maybe something spirit wise is occurring.

Anastasia on June 11, 2019:

Yes I had a similar encounter with a crane today. I was at a park in my city far too similar to how you described the prairie. When I seen a huge object sitting on bent up piece of metal which hangs over the lake. The more I stared the more I realized it was a bird. This little boy got close to it not even realizing, and it flew away. I am currently finding my way with my spiritual journey so watching it fly gave me so much inspiration. I watched it land on the other side of the lake so I walked over to get a closer look at it. I didn’t find it but I came across a man who started conversing with me. He asked if I was fishing and I told him I was looking for what I thought was a stork. He went on to tell me that it might have been a crane. And that sparked my interest to go find it. I kneeled down and just watch the sun set. I asked the universe if I could see the crane one more time. Me and the man started speaking again and a good 30 mins later I turned around and there it was, back in the same spot as before. And here I am looking for the spiritual meaning of it.

Natalie on April 28, 2019:

I recently moved to Florida and have never seen a Sand Hill Crane. Yesterday I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at work. It was about 8 am. I looked up and there was this large bird suddenly standing directly in front of my car. It kinda freaked me out because it seemed to come out of nowhere. Then it approached my car and started pecking on my window. It then went around my whole car pecking on it. It let out a screech and then flew off. It was an experience that left me stunned and I have no idea how to interpret it. I am going through some soul searching right now about my future, but have never encountered this bird before or this type of close up animal experience.

Denise on February 05, 2019:

Since I live a a metro area in the US Southwest Desert, we don't see much wildlife. We're pretty limited by a variety so when something unusual appears, it's pretty easy to wonder what message is being conveyed. About a week or so ago a crane flew over my house. We do have cranes in the area but it's highly unusual to see them in the city, esp. where I live. I've only seen them in the outskirts and then just a few times. Just this morning on my way to work, two cranes flew over me. Clearly something is up. On a side note, a couple of days after my first crane sighting, I saw a fox in our neighborhood. Again, not unheard of but highly unusual.

Isabel Washington from Bath, PA on September 09, 2018:

Last night I performed a ritual to cleanse my past life karma, After I finished i felt great, light as a feather. After that I decided to follow my dreams to open an online shop, I bought jewelry in bulk. Prayed to my Goddess Hecate, to help me and to light my path and to let me know if i was doing the right thing, and to always guide my path. This morning, as I was driving to work, I drive the same way every morning, rain or shine a normal empty main street on a Sunday, but this morning seem and felt different as I was driving I pass the 4 way intersection as I have done it for the past year, I looked to my left passing the traffic light, as I slowly turn to look forward and look at the milk farm to my right out of no where a Sandhill Crane came out of the right side ( mind you I have a big green expedition) I figured he would fly away from the truck, no he flew right towards me I slowed down, the way he came at me I could have swore I hit it with my truck, but I didn't hear no loud noise, when I looked back and up to try to find him .... He had totally disappear just banished. As this was going on ... As I was about to collage with him I felt a rush of adrenaline mix with concern because i didn't want to hurt him, but when he looked at me it just disappear, I felt a wave of a total calmness wash over me, I definitely don't have a doubt that my Goddess was sending me a message. it was a very unique experience and i feel very honor.

Aye on August 26, 2018:

Been dreaming about a gray / black crane coming in my house for 2 nights I have no idea what it means

Brittany Marriott on August 04, 2018:

Just saw a crane in the Boise River today with my dog! It's shallow enough right now, and we walked to the middle of the river. Pausing in the shallows on the way back, I peered under the river. An elegant crane stood in the water on the bank of the river rock island. I gazed at him a moment, and then excited to show my gentle dog who loves birds, we took 4-5 steps toward him. He spread his gorgeous wings and took off of course. I bravely looked up "crane" on Joanne's Sacred Scribes/Animal Symbology page still standing in the middle of the river, to read "manifesting creativity and focus on life's significance." It has been a crazy, almost surrendering sort of work week and this is what I needed to hear! I'm self employed so it is an urge to keep faith, move forward, and fear not!

Thank you for posting! I'm especially exited after reading a little more about crane's significance and symbolism.


Linda on July 28, 2018:

I live in the Treasure Coast of Florida and to see Sandhill cranes strolling quite unhurriedly along a roadway is not an uncommon sight. A week ago I had been instructed to begin a spiritual study program and hadn’t been quite sure where to begin. I am all about “creating the right power spot” - I bought 2 beach chairs, painted them turquoise and placed them under a tree by the lakeside where we live. I found a wonderful book, the perfect book actually, to start my study. Then, suddenly, 2 days ago, a beautiful pair of Sandhill Cranes appeared by the chairs, cawing for attention. I walked out to them, spread some birdseed along the ground, sat in a chair, and enjoyed their company not 4 feet from me for almost an hour. I went back into the house only to be called outside again by them 2 hours later and repeated the visit! This morning they appeared about 7 am, cawing to me again. I spent all morning with them, me studying my book and they feeding and gurgling and indulging my occasional videoing and picture taking. We were joined by a multitude of Wood ducks, herons, blue jays, doves and the like. A glorious morning, to be repeated, I hope, many mornings going forward.

Jacquelyn on July 11, 2018:

I live in the Southern half of Florida on the East Coast. My home is on a small pond that is visited often by many kinds of birds. A family of Sandhill cranes have been coming around the pond lately, looking for grubs in the ground and showing their chick how to forage for food. I went out on my screened porch to watch them and the male walked right up to the door of my enclosure and fixed his orange eye right on my eyes. He stood no more than 18 inches from my face and came up to my shoulders in height (I'm 5'5" tall). I reached out and he pecked my palm twice, probably looking for food. His mate and baby were so busy feeding and foraging, they ignored this encounter. The baby was still quite small with spindly legs and a tiny, fluffy-feathered body. I spoke softly to the adult male crane and we stood looking at each other for about 5 or more minutes. He eventually walked off and continued to forage and move his family away from me and my dwelling. I wondered if he was making sure that his family was safe and free from interference. I want to believe that we connected, he and me. I loved his wildness and his ability to be free enough of fear to check me out. I've read about the symbolism of cranes recently and have taken my encounter as a sign that the crane is truly my Spirit Animal.

Odessa on May 17, 2018:

I was laying in bed with this morning when a strange noise came through my window. I got out of bed and went into the living room. Standing outside my living room window we’re two Sandhills cranes looking in the window right in front of me. They stood there looking right at me then turned around and walked away. I was totally awed by that and wondered if it was some type of omen. I had never seen a crane that close before but it was awesome.

Rayna Noire on May 03, 2018:

Appreciate your blog. I was going to work recently using an old country path commonly not used when a crane flew up in front of me. I wasn't being quiet so it had to know I was coming . It waited until I was about a foot from iit before taking off. I could feel the breeze of its wings. I had just come from spending a week at the Spiritualism camp. I had a moment of awe being so close to the large bird--but had to wonder what did it mean? Thanks for your insight.

Hummingbird333 on April 20, 2018:

One summer day I was being a show off and jumped into a lake . No one was swimming and the group I was with was not interested in getting into the water . I’m swimming and floating and I come upon a marshy area and I come face to face with a crane . I looked into this birds eye and was stopped , quietly observing what I was looking at . I felt in awe and some what frightened . Like if I just came Across the Loch Ness . We stood there looking at eachother for awhile . I remember thinking how prehistoric it looked . That’s why I write this because you hit it spot on . I remember thinking I’m looking at a raptor , this thing is old and it made me feel inferior but in a humbling way . I just remember it’s eyes I could see it’s pupils dilate and take me in . This happened years ago . And this moment still visits me . So much so I looked up the mythology of cranes today and I come upon this . As I was swimming away to not disturb this elder he flew above me . And whoa this guys wing span was big . I have a picture of the whole moment in action .

Dylan Warner on April 10, 2018:

I just got done reading a deliverance book. I went outside to smoke and I came back up from grabbing the mail nd I saw two cranes flying over near my neighbors house toward the backwoods making a sort of cawing noise. I live in Minnesota and its cold this time of year so its rare to see bird about. I went online right after to read about the omen of cranes and signs when you see them. I was curious since its more common around my area, that Ojibwe signs of culture have come out or varied native american cultures. So I was curious as to know what it meant when they show up.

andrea on January 19, 2018:

This evening I was sat out on my terrace in the dark and 5 white cranes flew over and circled twice, I had never known them fly at night. There were 3 of us sat there in awe as we watched.

Ajijic Mexico

Kim on January 08, 2018:

I recently decided to start going on morning walks for my physical and mental health. Today was my first day and I saw two cranes. One white crane and one grey crane. I stopped to take a picture of the white crane because it was so beautiful but it was sitting amongst trash in the river. As soon as I got one pic it started to fly off. I thought oh well and kept walking. About 5 mins later I saw it again and quickly took out my phone for another pic and it flew off again so graceful and beautiful. It landed at the end of the river right behind my house. I don't know why but I just felt like maybe it was watching me or leading me. It gave me a sense of peace if nothing else but I really felt like it was there for a reason.

Tori on December 21, 2017:

I'm almost recovered from a concussion i got a few months

ago. For a few weeks it really affected my dreaming. They were more vivid and memorable.. I seldom dream about animals even though I regularly do animal cards. So this dream seemed really important: I am outside in a yard with children. I see an eagle land in the crook of a nearby tree. I am amazed and call to the kids to come see it. The eagle circles around me and lands on my shoulder. At this point it seems more like a crane with a graceful long curving neck, though it's still an eagle. It whispers into my ear with a surprising and beautiful baritone voice, "You can go there". I try to ask a question like "go where?" and the bird doesn't answer, it's almost staticky. I rephrase the question, "have you gone there?" My recollection is that it said, or was trying to say, "many times." Then I woke up. It's an auspicious dream, though I can't sense why. During the dream, I felt the bird was speaking of death. Now I don't know how to interpret it. Maybe it portended the end of my concussion symptoms which did seem to subside shortly thereafter.

Brandy on September 19, 2017:

I live in a town have never seen a crane here. I walked out my back door and had to duck as this huge bird flew overhead wingspan was big I could've touched him. I was nervous, the crane stayed in my yard on and off for weeks casually walking around then he finally flew away and I occasionally see him still this crane is always by himself very curious why the crane stayed so long

Chuck on August 10, 2017:

I walk early every morning. I usually start off before day breaks. I was walking down the road as dawn began to break. I noticed a large bird flying toward me at shoulder height. At first I thought the bird was going to fly right into me. It was hard to determine what kind of bird this was. I felt no fear but just curiosity. The brown Sandhill Crane flew right by me. It was so close I could almost have reached out and touched its wing. It flew another 100yds down the road then soared upward. It was a magical moment for me . I stood there afterward in amazement and gratitude. I believe this was a sign. I'm not sure what it means but I'm sure it will reveal itself to me in the future.

Elizabeth on January 04, 2017:

New Year's Eve morning, I was driving home between a few yoga classes that I teach and saw many Sandhill Cranes eating and walking in an area that surrounds a large tree in a field that, when it rains, becomes a pond. Recognizing this beautiful moment, I pulled over to take a picture. I didn't stay long bc I didn't want to disturb them. I went home and when I was leaving my house to teach my next class, I slipped on some ice and broke my sacrum and coccyx. It wasn't a hairline fracture. It was a complete break and the piece that broke off, also broke into pieces. I feel like there is so much symbolism here ... but I'm not sure what it is ...

Meegan Lovett on October 09, 2016:

I live by the ocean in Nova Scotia, Canada... Not on the ocean mind you... Not even walking distance... I was walking in the woods behind my house, thick pine and birch with only a few paths and I find myself looking up and see a crane. We were spooked, he was spooked and it was the oddest thing watching it fly in the woods...

What does it mean? for me?....

Lisa on September 18, 2016:

Yesterday I had an amazing encounter with a Sandhill Crane where I live in Florida. My husband and I were walking near a wetland preserve area, when two cranes began to approach us. Living in Florida for many years, I am aware that they aren't afraid of humans as other birds are.

These two came right up to us. The one actually began to peck at my hand that I had in a splint due to an injury. I have had much distress about my injured hand, due to the fact that I need my hands for my healing work as a Massage Therapist.

I believe that some how this amazing bird acknowledged my pain. Seems strange to say, but that's what I felt at that moment.

DJ in DE on September 14, 2016:

Quick update. After not seeing the Sandhill Crane for several days, I thought it had flown off. Then I heard the crane call the other day while sitting on my deck that overlooks a marsh, at sunset. It comes in, circles, and lands behind the house. And then the next day at sunrise, I was out walking the dogs and saw it fly away.

Tonight, my wife, the dogs and I were on the deck waiting to see if it returned. Sun went down. Started to get dark. My wife spots it flying in from the South. Huge with its neck straight out. It circles the spot where it landed the other day and flies, silently, right towards us.

It gets close and calls. Then it flies right by us, between the neighbor's house and our house with one long continuous call. Maybe 30 feet away. Wow!! We were stunned. I wonder if it was leaving and just saying goodbye.

Who knows, but it was amazing. I felt like it saw us and wanted to make sure we saw it. I hope we see it again, but tonight was a true thrill seeing it flying so close.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on September 03, 2016:

Thank you for sharing that story, DJ. They are certainly amazing creatures.

DJ in DE on September 03, 2016:

For the last day or two a Sandhill Crane has been hanging out in a bean field in Ocean View, DE. I happened to see it driving by and at first thought someone's emu had escaped, although I don't know anyone that has one. The bird was about 4.5-5 feet tall. Certainly an unusual occurrence in the summer and in Delaware. I walked up to it and got some really good photos of it just staring at me. Not frightened or threatening, just calm. It brought peace to see such a magnificent wild creature so close. After a bit of poking around the internet, the only similar occurrence I could find in DE was in Nov. of 2010 in Northern DE. So I feel very fortunate to have shared a moment together. It is gone now but I will cherish the photos and the memory.

Sandra on July 15, 2016:

Today out of nowhere, and I do mean nowhere as we live in the woods, as I was standing on my porch with our fog Dixie thinking about our daughter Kellie who had just passed 2 days prior at the age of 44, this beautiful white egret crane came quietly and softly flying in and landed in our circle garden in front of me. It just stood there ever do quietly and graceful looking at me, I was in awe as was Dixie, we remained like this for at least 1 1/2 minutes then Dixie decided to check it out at which time the crane began to fly off, it only flew a little ways out into our field where I followed with Dixie . It remained and allowed me to get pictures as it stood and then as it flew off . I felt such peace and calm wit this encounter as if God was showing us all is well concerning our daughter. Any response??

Tanya on July 11, 2016:

My experience with the crane came when my husband and I took our blow up kayak out on the river for the first time. It was a beautiful day. The run was to about 4 hours. What happened was that it ended up taking 9 hours. As dusk was falling, I spotted the crane. she was standing on the shore with her leg up, watching us. We were quite nervous and scared in this lonely, uninhabited stretch of river, rife with rocks and a lot of tree debris. I focused on the crane, told her in my mind how beautiful she was, and asked her to lead us to safety. For 3 hours, she would stand, watch us, then fly to the opposite side, all of the way back. She never left us, she watched and waited for us, and was very clearly leading us back. I was touched to my very soul. I thanked her, and she flew off back into the woods. How beautiful. We are so blessed.

Marina on July 02, 2016:

Last night I had a dream in which I was standing in a small cove on an inlet from the sea. A flock of the most beautiful blue birds - large - flew in and walked on the shore near me. I reached out my hand to stroke the feathers on the face of one of them and he let me. He was friendly. Then they flew off. I woke and wondered if they were herons or cranes...but when I looked at images of both they were more like cranes. The blue was extraordinary, magical. Wondering how you would interpret this dream??Thank you! I know it means something.

Liz M on May 08, 2016:

Today is mother's day, rough start to the day.. I go outside.. There is a sandhill crane walking in my yard .proceeds to walk towards me. Stops about 10'out and we look each other in the eye..only for a couple min then it walks away

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on March 08, 2016:

Livv, that is a wonderful development. These birds are so beautiful, and I can't imagine that the uptick in their influence in your life could be anything but positive and lucky. Thank you for sharing that!

Livv on March 08, 2016:

In the past few years, I've noticed a huge increase in crane presence around me, and it's only gotten increasingly stronger. XD I see them everywhere, tons of them! Every single time I go outside, and even inside! (They fly by my window). I don't go a single day without seeing one. And they tend to get pretty close (within 20 feet or less). They've also taken to my fiancée, who now has a crane friend that follows him around outside during his break at work. I haven't done a lot of research into them like I should have, until today, when a black crane showed itself to me. I never even knew black cranes existed! It was definitely a powerful moment to see such a powerful bird fly near me, and definitely prompted me to look a bit closer at what the crane has been trying to tell me. :)

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on January 29, 2016:

Thank you so much for sharing that JMC. I love the way animals and plants connect us to ourselves and the earth, and I love hearing from people who experience similar things. So glad to hear your story.

codeblackllcjmc on January 26, 2016:

So this story was definitely inspiring. I've been on my own spiritual quest and advancing, thankfully, lately. I was in meditation and notoced a crane right away, so i wanted to do a bit of research as I've seen this sumbolism before, but didn't pay much attention to it. Upon reviewing yoir post, it makes sense because i was having negative thinking about what path to take, but got word from an otherworldly source and it was kind of like a confirmation that everything was okay. Your story along with that reassurance provided much clarity and direction, so i know its safe to spread my wings and take flight... i don't know how much circling I'll be doing, but im more optimistic that things will be okay. Ty so much for your wisdom and look forward to hearing more from you. Many blessings this new year.


Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on July 19, 2015:

Hope, that is so cool! Once you have an experience like that, the world looks different, doesn't it? So glad you shared it here. Thank you!

Hope on July 18, 2015:

I live in Oak Cliff, a suburb of Dallas,Tx -- for you non-Dallasites out there -- and just 2 blocks from me is the local lake "Lake Cliff", ...and as I was walking by the side of it the other day I had an experience w/ (I see them there often enough,... but THIS was just... DIFFerent... -- spiritual. Ironically/dare-I-say eerily, I, too, ...was practicing God's protective presence and practicing trusting Him/it to be w/ me throughout the rest of the day... *chills* when I saw it. I THINK we're ONto somethin here! ;) ) a crane... that, :)... in fact, moved me so much... lol... that I'm ON hEre =O sayin "Okay Google!: What kind of omen is a White Crane?" =O lol!!! ^•^ ^•^ ^•^ ...seriously though *shivers*

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on July 08, 2015:

Wow, what a wonderful experience Allie! I'd say you definitely got the validation you needed! I love the stories on this thread too. It's amazing to me how many people have magical encounters with cranes and other animals. It gives me hope for all of us. Thank you for sharing!

AilieH on July 05, 2015:

I really appreciate you, your writing, and the fact that you keep up with this thread. I have enjoyed reading about everyone's crane experiences and encounters. My first encounter with a crane was 3 years ago while looking for a few river rocks to use as story stones with and for my young son. We were next to the river, so I didn't think it was too odd, but I had never seen one in the wild so close up before, so I took photos and counted myself lucky. But just last week my crane encounter was much more spiritual and timely. I was sitting in my reading nook, working on my very first book. I was just wondering if I should really get so deeply into the magical realm that I was digging into, when a crane landed on my roof, 5 feet from my face, at eye level. I was astonished. Our neighborhood is sort of far from a large body of water and I have never seen a crane up so close like that. It really felt like a personal visit. She stared at me for a good 3 minutes, and then I moved closer and she decided I was close enough, thank you very much, and flew away.

I really did feel a sense of renewed energy about my book and the direction in which I am going. Strange how a meeting like that can give one such courage. Strange and wonderful.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on June 29, 2015:

Oh my goodness, that is truly amazing--and strangely beautiful. I can tell you for sure that this article on cranes elicits more amazing stories from readers than anything else I've ever written. Thank you so much for sharing yours. You seem to have made some lifelong friends.

Emma on June 28, 2015:

When I was around 7, I was a very lonely child. It would often rain where I lived, leaving the physical education classes to be held indoors. Whenever that happened, I would watch the sandhill cranes outside the doors. I became rather attached to them, and I even named them. I still use these names 13 years later.

Fast forward and I am 12. I had hurt myself, and I was bleeding. I was trying desperately to stop the bleeding, not aware of my surroundings. I was fussing with my injury when I heard a bird cry near me. I looked up, startled. What I found was that I had been surrounded by about 5 or 6 sandhill cranes. They were all standing in positions around me. A couple were staring at me, and the others were facing away from me, flapping their wings for no apparent reason.

To this day, I can't seem to find a logical explanation for this. I find it strange.. but fascinating.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on June 05, 2015:

Thank you for sharing that Marzell. My husband and I go hiking in a nature preserve where many sandhill cranes nest. The other day he was taking a photo of a goose and when we got home and put it on the computer there was a sandhill crane, right next to the goose. He hadn't even seen it when he took the photo, it was that well hidden in the reeds.

Marzell on June 04, 2015:

Living in Florida, I have seen many sandhill cranes, but never up close. One afternoon leaving work, a male and female walked right up to me and the male stared me in the eye(I am not very tall), and he stood there for about 3 minutes close enough that my breathing was ruffeling the feathers on his face. 3 of my coworkers saw how close they both were. Very powerful moment in my life.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on April 21, 2015:

They really are! Thank you for sharing, Kathleen. :D

Kathleen on April 19, 2015:

I live on the west coast of Florida and see Sand Hill cranes all the time. In fact as I am writing this there are two Sand Hill cranes in my yard with their two babies...they are beautiful...

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on April 02, 2015:

Aila, so cool! I love to go walking in wilderness areas with my dog. We see so many cool animals and birds. It's a wonderful way to stay connected and calm. :D

Aila from Finland on March 30, 2015:

Hi! That is very interesting.. For me allmost the same thing happened this morning when I was walking my dog near by swamp area and doing the light work that I usually do, but this morning I tried some new things with deepening my connection to the nature and letting it guide me. I heard that crane sound and looked up to the sky. Crane flyed low straight towards me and upon me it flyed that round circle and then headed towards that swamp area. That was wery powerfull moment for me too. That is how I googled it and found your site:) And a fun notice: earlier on that same walk I saw a pair of Ravens. Raven is my native american zodiac

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on February 16, 2015:

Thank you for sharing that wonderful story Viognier! The world can be an amazing place when you open your eyes! All the best to you and good luck on your new job. :)

Viognier on February 15, 2015:

I met my spirit totem - yes, a magnificent crane - whilst listening to a guided meditation about 2 weeks ago. I searched for the meaning and the first one I read was 'good tidings'. I was amazed because I was in the midst of 'realising' a (fantastic) job - trusting the Universe and basically letting go of old limiting beliefs. Fast forward to today, I saw an old painting in the house - I never really looked at it - today as I was helping my folks hang a decorative on the ceiling, standing on a ladder ... The image of eight beautiful cranes literally popped out right before my eyes! And tomorrow is the day where I will be officially joining this wonderful company (yes, I received the fantastic job!)!!! It was incredible, just incredible. I'm still in awe... Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on February 04, 2015:

Sandy, I would definitely call that a luck and longevity omen! :)

sandy on January 30, 2015:

My mother, daughter and I were at a restaurant in Charlotte one January night celebrating my 50th birthday when my daughter notices a grey crane standing outside our restaurant. He saw us and started strutting around like he had come to celebrate too. I wonder what kind of omen that is on your 50th--something of luck and longevity I presume?

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on December 06, 2014:

What a great story r.! They do look a bit like dinosaurs. :)

Thank you for taking the time to share~!

r. on December 05, 2014:

I had a strange encounter as a child with a crane i had a river stream in my back yard off to the side there was this lagoon type area surounded by leafy trees where i used to go swimming and fishing and out of know where this huge bird comes flying in with its wings stretch across the river type stream 20-30 feet in width was the river i was so freaked out I've never seen a bird like that in all my life it looked so dinosaurish very dainty but very wide wingspath i knew it was some sort of crane but it is way not native to the north american new mexico area however i seen what i seen never went back by myself again it came gracefully and peacefully but as a 8 year old it freaked me out i seen it coming in and i was gone i took off so quck i didn't even see it land i had a feeling it was worning me as a 8 year old i shouldn't have been out there by myself to begin with

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on September 02, 2014:

Wow! That is so cool! (And yes, very interesting considering your new status!) I just love these birds. So elegant. Thank you for posting and best wishes for your new life. :)

Joanna on September 01, 2014:

I have been having a beautiful pair hang out in my field the last couple of weeks. In the evening, there is usually a third that pops over and to usher them home. This morning I awoke to a noisy ruckus, and looked out a window to see twenty of them! They fed and made their distinctive clacketty-clack and bugling sounds for a couple of hours, and then all flew off. I did a bit of research and discovered that young birds that have outgrown their parents, hang out together in groups of 20, called a "bachelor flock." Very interesting, as I am newly single and living alone. :)

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on July 01, 2014:

Thanks niwashi. :)

niwashi kun on June 30, 2014:

Sorry to be nitpicky but the Sarus Crane is the tallest *flying* bird. The title "tallest living bird" goes to the Ostrich.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on June 11, 2014:

Dennis, that is SO cool. :) I just love them, they are amazing birds.

dennis on June 10, 2014:

I usually see one or two cranes a year but this year I have seen 6 . I live in ne ohio im in a pretty secluded area.I was just looking at this site to see what the crane spirit animal ment because I was just lsying on the floor below my living room window and happened to look up

And a crane flew overhead.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on June 09, 2014:

I would take that as a good sign, Samantha. It seems to me like reassurance that you can take care of yourself and have the support of the Universe for doing so. Thank you for sharing. :)

samantha on June 03, 2014:

I had a crane land on my fence today, and I don't live anywhere near it's habitat! I know it's a sign, but I just can't get my head around what it's trying to tell me, I am having problems in my relationship and I'm feeling very unbalanced in it, but I don't know how to ballance myself due to what has happened in the past!

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on May 09, 2014:

Glad it was helpful Oztinato. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on May 09, 2014:

Thanks for this info about the peaceful crane symbol.

I just had a dream about a white crane and needed to study this symbol.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on April 16, 2014:

Thank you for sharing that bagyo. I appreciate that you took the time to visit and share your story.

bagyo on April 14, 2014:

16 years ago, a day after I made a prayer to start on my spiritual journey to become closer to God, I drove home and a crane flew by my car for a block. i took it as a sign that my prayer was being answered. and it was. now, I am at a fork in the road again. today I visited my friend a reiki master for some talk and guidance. after I left and drove him, again a crane flew next to my car, this time only for a few feet. but enough for me to recognize it and get the spiritual confirmation that I needed.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on April 04, 2014:

That is a beautiful story, Jan. Thank you so much for sharing it here.

Jan Becker from Pompano Beach, Florida on April 04, 2014:

Last year I went on a spring break trip to Cassadaga in Central Florida. The day I was due to go, I got a call that a close friend had died, but he lived far away and I figured if I was going to mourn on my own, a Spiritualist community might be the best place. My second morning in Cassadaga, I received a message that a second friend died. She was thirty years old, and had developed brain cancer. I went for a walk to a field at the bottom of a hill shortly after I got the news, and sat on a bench there, by myself, thinking. Two Florida sandhills flew in and landed about 15 feet away from me, and did their dance. I sat there for about an hour watching them. When I stood up to leave, they flew off. It made me think about the origami cranes, and Japanese folklore about cranes, how they carry the spirits of the deceased to the next state. Their dance looks like they are fighting to lift themselves off the ground, like they are bearing something heavy. I thought then that they were trying to lift the weight of my grief. I still think that.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on December 31, 2013:

Thank you Pam! That is a beautiful story. I love that you came here and shared it. Namaste. :)

Pam on December 30, 2013:

We recently moved to a house on a lake in Florida where there is a family of sandhill cranes. I love watching them. One day I was arriving home after a weekend spiritual retreat and three of them greeted me in my yard. They came right into my front garden--just a few feet away from me. One of them did his dance for me before they flew away. This morning I looked out the window and saw a lone sandhill crane walking in the road in front of my house. I went out on my front porch to get a better look and rather than run in the other direction he walked right up to me. He was literally a foot away from me. I do a lot of shamanistic work and I see them every time I am in ceremony. Every single time. I came to your page because I know that these beautiful animals are sending me a message and wanted to understand what they are trying to tell me. Thank you so much for interpreting for me. Many blessings to you.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on December 30, 2013:

Thank you Spiritwood!

spiritwood from Wales, UK on December 28, 2013:

lovely :)

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on November 16, 2013:

Hi Tomi! Yes aren't they beautiful? Thank you so much for reading and sharing your own experience with them. Very, very cool!

Tomi on November 16, 2013:

So glad to find this! Thank you! I have been seeing Sandhill Cranes for years but I thought they were Canadian Geese. Recently had a friend enlighten me as they were flying overhead, huge migrating flocks, here in Illinois in November. Of course they arent geese, they don't sound anything like them! I thought perhaps the geese made that sound when in these huge circling flocks (duh!). So glad to learn about the Sandhill crane! And I just found a set of 4 paintings on silk of sandhills at a thrift store! (a week after I learned what they were!) How cool is that?

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on October 17, 2013:

TW, that IS beautiful! Thank you for sharing it. :)

TW on October 16, 2013:

Several years ago, before crane visits were fairly regular here in our part of MI, we had two land in a field near our house just before we sadly put our lovely dog to sleep on the front lawn. Today, right before we helped my friend's horse to cross rainbow bridge, a pair landed in the same field. I believe they lifted his soul away. It was a beautiful and emotional moment. My totem!

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on September 23, 2013:

Christine, how wonderful! Good luck to your daughter in law and good luck on your writing too. It sounds like you have an auspicious start for both!

Christine Skolnik from Chicago, Illinois on September 22, 2013:

Thank you for posting this interesting and insightful information. A crane landed in our yard this morning, just after our daughter in law went into labor. Also I've been enthusiastically reading the work of Jeffrey J. Kripal, of late, whose last two books were on the paranormal. Yesterday he encouraged me to start writing again. I was not thinking about writing about paranormal experiences, explicitly, though what an interesting coincidence with your experience.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on August 25, 2013:

Sharon, what a great story! Thank you for sharing your experience. :)

Sharon Winnicki on August 24, 2013:

About two weeks ago I was driving along on a two lane road here in vermont around 1 pm when what I thpught was a blue heron was heading straight at my windshield. As I slowed down to try to avoid hitting this creature it veered to my left so that i received a nirds eye view. At this point Ivrealized that it was a crane. As soon as i arrived home and looking in the bird books i learned thst it was a sandhill crane. This is particularly awesome because they are not known to be in this mountainous region altho there are lakes mearby. Since this experience they have been photograped as a pair I feel so fortunate!

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on August 17, 2013:

Thank you Shannon!

Shannon on August 16, 2013:

I got your sense of humor and enjoyed your post so much.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on July 11, 2013:

What a beautiful story! I thought it was your father-in-law saying thank you and goodbye. You couldn't have gotten a more beautiful farewell. Thank you for sharing this.

cam on July 10, 2013:

I found your article searching the internet today for the significance of a crane encounter. I have lived in my state all of my life (50 yrs) and have never seen a Crane before today. We lost my father in law recently and had just attended his military service. The will named my husband as the executor of his father's estate. As we left we pulled into a restaurant for lunch before starting our 3 hour journey home to find 2 cranes standing before us. What beautiful creatures they are! We circled around and came back with our camera and took several photo's of them since neither of us had EVER seen a Crane before. They almost seemed to pose for us going up on one foot and striking a pose. I was simply amazed by this sighting and thought it was strange since my father in law was an avid bird watcher that we should see such an amazing creature on the way home from his funeral. I couldn't help but wonder if it was a sign of something?? What would your thoughts be?

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on May 15, 2013:

Wow, what a great crane story! Thank you for sharing it. :)

Kaitlyn on May 14, 2013:

When I was driving home from the store a solid white crane flew up from the creek by the road. I thought "oh wow a stork!" Which then I had some kind of husband and I have been hoping for a baby and I feel pregnant now... :) I think it's a sign!

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on April 30, 2013:

What a beautiful comment! Thank you so much for taking the time to share. :)

Laurien on April 30, 2013:

This morning I took my dog to the park to play as per most mornings. The songs of the returning birds were especially beautiful and drew my eyes to the sky . There was this bird that flew forever towards me, getting bigger and bigger and all of its details were surprises. Its long neck, blazing white feathers, square feet and the incredible breadth of its wings stole my gaze as I watched, mesmerized by its circling flight until it disapeared into the horizon on the west. So Thankyou, your experience is such a lovely reflection to mine and the encouragement is a sweet addition. In those moments of amazement were thoughts of my lifelong goals and dreams and how now is the time to accomplish them.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on March 26, 2013:

Thank you for sharing that beautiful experience laginag! Cranes are native here as well and I have come to love them. All the best to you. :)

laginag on March 25, 2013:

I am greatly appreciative to have found this post. This morning I was walking my favorite hiking trail (listening to "A Course in Miracles audio) and I looked up to see a beautiful crane on the path ahead. It was odd in that there was no water near this path and I have never seen a crane but I knew immediately what is was. I am an intuitive and have recently experienced animal visions during meditation but this was extraordinary. I now understand the true blessing that was presented to me. And so it is!

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on February 22, 2013:

Wow, J. That is one powerful dream. I take dreams like that seriously too, and I think you've got a true guide and guardian there. Thank you for reading and for sharing your story!

J. on February 22, 2013:

I've never experienced a Crane in real life, but I had a strange dream. I was doing business as usual things in my dream when it changed drastically. All I could see was my outstretched hand and a Crane, he was gently nibbling my fingers. I was a little scared for some reason, but at the same time I knew he wouldn't hurt me. It felt like I was supposed to be doing something I wasn't, and he was sending me a gentle reminder.

A year before this, I was told by a friend's mother that my spirit animal was a Crane. I never put much stock into those kinds of things until that dream basically. He had a black neck with a grey body. I'd never known about a Crane with that kind of coloring so I researched a bit and what do you know, the Black-necked Crane fits the description. I like to believe he's watching over me, guiding me. It's a nice feeling.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on January 12, 2013:

Lucia I do think this is a positive sign! Cranes are usually taken as a very lucky sign. I would take that as a circle of protection and a sign that you are on the right track and protected in whatever is dearest to you heart. Thank you for sharing your lovely story!

lucia on January 11, 2013:

just this morning saturday morning I was outside, we have a small house at the back and have on occasion there will be one crane sitting on top of the chimeny yes. This morning my neighbour was shouting out look back there was one onher roof and my roof of the small house in my yard. Then the other flew over and they were both looking at me standing on the chimney totally relaxed. I was so lucky to have seem them again but 2 of them now. they were grooming themselves. Cranes bring good fortune yes or no. The crane always flies around our home I can here the crane make that sound. THankyou Let me know of what you think of this meaning.

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on January 11, 2013:

MK, what a beautiful story! Thank you for posting it. Also, thank you for taking the time to read the article--surprisingly, it is read more than any of my others, so cranes must really resonate with a lot of people right now. That's a wonderful thing. :)

MK on January 10, 2013:

Awesome read. I am a medium so my experience with a crane this weekend meant sooo much to me. Once a week a walk a trail by the river, same trail, however. Monday I took a different path to make an offering to Momma Chola. Normally I am alone but this day my kids were in toe. I prayed for us and just as I felt my prayers had been heard... A crane not only flew by ur but landed nearly a car length away and just smiled at us. It was amazing. We said our hellos and thanks, gathered our belongings and left lighter.

Thank you for sharing this info

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on August 08, 2012:

What a beautiful story Em32! I do believe life goes on after death and that spirits can reach out to us through animals. I agree about the healing power of cranes--I'd say what you experienced went way beyond coincidence and I am so glad that you got that comfort and reassurance. Thank you so much for sharing.

Em32 on August 07, 2012:

Two months ago our twin girls passed away, I pleaded to them to send me a sign to let me know that they are okay in heaven. The day before their funeral we were greater at my in-law's house by a pair just walking around about 20 feet from us. They circled around us twice. Then a pair in their baby have been hanging outside the window of my parent's house. They woke up my sister-in-law when she was sleeping after returning from her trip to Europe. We visited our daughter's at the cemetery and took them flowers, only to see 13+ cranes in a field that we drove by on the way home. We received a card with Sandhill cranes on it from my co-workers who knew nothing about all of our crane encounters. And last but not least, I went to see my therapist last week, I was telling her abou the cranes the girls keep sending to me to let me know that they are okay in heaven. She took out her phone to show me a picture she had taken earlier that morning when she got to work...of course 2 cranes standing in front of the doctor's office front doors! They are spiritually powerful birds that have given me a lot of healing power!

Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on July 13, 2012:

Wow that is a fantastic story! Thank you so much for sharing it. You have been touched by something very special. These birds are indeed magical. Thank you for reading and for sharing your encounter. :)