Sandhill Cranes Show off Baby

They’re back.  The pair of sandhill cranes that nested in my wetland last year and drew birders with their chick, have done it again this year. Since parents birds get very cagey, there have been only glimpses of the new little crane far back in the trees. 

Mama and chick pause to ponder the new feathers of a youngster growing up as fast as it can.

Now, however, they are ready to parade the baby out in the pasture where there seem to be plenty of treats to grub for in the grass. They must have fed their baby prodigiously because it has shot up from a fuzzy little yellow thing to a tall adolescent starting to get feathers.  And it is only June.

I don’t know what happened to last year’s baby because the cranes appeared late last fall without it.  Sandhill crane babies hang about with parents for almost a year so I fear that youngster came to grief.  Since sandhills are ground dwellers, every sort of predator, from ravens and gulls to coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, owls and eagles do their best to make a meal of the young. Luckily, I don’t have any alligators.

Now that this year’s baby is getting so big, its parents have calmed their nerves. They forage unconcerned beside the herd of cattle and walk along the fence by the road paying little attention to traffic–unless a vehicle slows.

I’m looking forward to lots more visits. Perhaps I’ll even manage to get a picture that isn’t fuzzy because it’s from the end of my zoom range. That would be up close and friendly.  Ha!


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