Monday, July 20, 2009

Sandhill Cranes - Now and Then

This spring and summer, I have had the great fortune to watch and observe a breeding pair of Sandhill Cranes as they raise their young at Kensington Metropark in Milford, Michigan. The Sandhill Cranes call the park their home and several breeding pairs inhabit the park. This particular pair of cranes happen to be very tolerant of human beings. They watch us with caution and do not flee or act aggressively toward park visitors who happen to pass them by while out on the trails or on the park lawn.

Last May 15, 2009, a friend and I were out birding for spring migrants, when this family of Sandhill Cranes approached us while on the Aspen Trail. They had with them their new brood of two crane fledglings. We watched with amazement at these magnificent birds with tiny fledglings scurrying about at their feet. They fed quietly and strolled along without much notice to the human beings who were captivated by their appearance on the trail. The parents would make a low trill sound to alert the babies to stay with the parents and off they went into the deep cover of the marshland. Before we knew it, they were deep into the reeds and all we could see were the parents heads poking up every now and again with a morsel of food for their babies.
We are used to very skittish birds and to have these large birds walk by within a few feet was simply a breathtaking moment. I was so captivated by their grace and beauty I vowed to look for them throughout the season and watch their growth.

The first photo is from July 17, 2009, and the second photo is from May 15, 2009.