Cranes are birds that hold a large variety of different meanings. For instance in Ancient Greece the crane was a bird of omen. Not of bad omen, just omen. The story goes that a thief attacked a poet, the poet asked a flock of cranes to help him out after the thief had left him for dead, and they followed the thief and flew overhead until the thief confessed to his crime out of guilt.
There are several other myths about cranes worldwide. What is more interesting is the amount of traditions pertaining to cranes. This is because cranes have spectacular mating dances. Crane dances have been performed in Japan, Korea, and other places in Asia. Here the crane is a symbol of happiness and eternal youth. In Japan anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes is said to be granted a wish by the crane. Also in China the crane inspired several styles of kung fu which you may or may not have known from Kung Fu Panda.