The hunters shot over a corn field. They'd been using that field for years. Some of their best memories were shooting in that field. The hunters were careful not to bother or shoot protected birds that rested and fed in the fields. They were only there to hunt geese and duck that passed over the field during hunting season.
So when the Sandhill Cranes rested in the fields during migration, the hunters stayed away. No sense taking a chance.
The Sandhill Crane fed happily on grain in the field unaware that the field was normally used for shooting. Stomach full, the Crane continued his migration south.
The hunters would never know that the lead shards, full lead pellets and parts of the shell (the wad) would all be ingested along with corn and grain by the unassuming Sandhill Crane. Enough lead, in fact, to kill a bird.
And so it was....
Another tragedy of environmental poisoning.