August 8, 2014

Mother, father, and baby...

... sandhill cranes:



Video'd by Meade a few days ago on the Capital City Bike Trail here in Madison. I was there too, as Meade crept up and they evaded.

21 comments:

Rusty said...

When they put their heads down to feed move forward a few feet. Your movement will attract their attention and the'll lift
their heads up. Freeze and wait untill they put their heads down to feed again.
This also works well for deer. Just make sure the wind isn't at your back.

mikee said...

These birds summer in Madison, but they winter in south Texas. They gather by the hundreds in the tidal flats of the coast, and are delightful to watch when we visit the beach for a winter break from central Texas weather - which sometimes produces actual frost!

The great blue herons are also winter residents - although they often stay in Austin year-round, eating crawfish, minnows and anything else they can grab from the shallows of our neighborhood pond.

lemondog said...

I like the end and the way all three in an almost simultaneous instant disappear.

pm317 said...

What a nice family..

David said...

I see them flying quite often now near Sturgeon Bay. Impressive.

THOMASt WREN said...

Nice video. You guys should visit South Texas during hunting season. You don't have to hunt; take a photo safari. The sound and sight of thousands of geese rising from the rice fields into the dawn-lit Texas sky is simply amazing.

Curious George said...

Taste like chicken.

Quaestor said...

Cranes are an interesting study in evolution. When the last Tarantian glaciers receded a new dominate land environment was created in North America -- the Great Prairie, a sea of grass from the Continental Divide in the west to the Ohio Valley in the east, north to the subarctic pine forests, and south to the Gulf of Mexico, a sea of grass inhabited by billions of tons of insects. The Sandhill Crane, anatomically a piscivorous wading bird, moved in to exploit that new resource. They've retained all of the features of a heron or egret -- stilt-like legs for wading and a long stabbing beak for spearing fish and frogs -- and have added an enlarged stony gizzard to help them with the seeds which round out their largely insectivorous diet. The long legs gave them an advantage in the tall prairie grass, but with the decline of the prairie and the rise of human agriculture and urban lawns, will they evolve shorter legs and beaks, or just go extinct without descendants?

Quaestor said...

Another interesting adaptation is their distinctive call. Contrastingly herons are virtually silent. Crane vocalization likely must relate to the need to keep group cohesion in tall grass where visual contact is often impossible.

David said...

Curious George said...
Taste like chicken.


The hunters call them "ribeye from the sky." I think that's based on meat quantity rather than flavor.

Curious George said...

It's Madison, so it could likely be Mother, other mother, and baby...

Magson said...

Can't see it really well, but I got a pic of a Sandhill in Island Park, ID the other day -- it's in the center, but kinda far off so it's small:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152227763072478&set=a.10151554415352478.1073741826.685412477&type=1&theater

Kevin said...


Seems kind of a hetero-normative statement.

How do you know it's not a same sex pair of cranes with an adopted chick?

STOP THE HATE....SUPPORT LGBT WILDLIFE.

Emil Blatz said...

How do you know it's not the male, his girlfriend and his/her nephew?

The Crack Emcee said...

One day, we're going to read about Meade getting attacked by a rabbit, and then he'll learn,..

Quaestor said...

Cattle egrets did the same trick as the cranes only earlier. The Pleistocene, an ice age in the northern latitudes, was an age of drought in the tropics. Lakes and swamps dried up into woodlands and savannas, thus reducing the opportunity for herons and egrets to live their traditional fish-eating lives. By necessity some egrets adapted to the dry environments and learned that large moving herds of ungulate mammals stirred up a bonanza of insects otherwise hidden deep in the grass.

New World cranes followed the bison herds for the same reason. However, when domestic cattle replaced the bison on the American prairie egrets began to replace cranes as well, at least in the warmer regions like Texas and Oklahoma.

Rockport Conservative said...

I live here in S Texas next to the whooping cranes. It is always nice to see the sandhills have made it to Madison. I live in the Lamar community where the whoopers are staking out territory and a family has returned for at least 3 years in a row. The sandhills also forage with them in the fenced in field they feed in. Winter Texans delight in being able to drive by and get excellent pictures of both sandhills and whoopers. We like to watch the snowbirds, too.

Rockport Conservative said...

One more thing. We do have Great Blue Heron's in S Texas all year round.

lemondog said...

How do you know it's not the male, his girlfriend and his/her nephew?

Or 2 guys and a midget.

Meade said...

"Taste like chicken."

Yum!... therapy chicken?

traditionalguy said...

Sad to say the young crane is getting close to "leaving the nest" time. .

Maybe he will attract a hot young bird looking for a young mate for life.