Bath Time for the Sandhill Crane Colts


I hope you’re not tired of Sandhill Crane colts yet.  I had so many good images from my days with this family that I just had to share.  Today’s post features images from two trips, when the colts were just three and six days old.  The parents took them down to the little lake near their nest.  The little colts didn’t hesitate before going right into the water.  At just three days old, they are very good swimmers!  (Too bad it’s not that easy for humans!)

Sandhill Crane Colt Going for a Swim
Going for a Swim

I love this next picture because it was my first shot of the three-day-old babies wading into the water.  They were so curious about everything, and it shows in the picture.  It was sweet to watch them stick together as they waded and explored.

Sandhill Crane Colts Going Wading
Going Wading

After watching the Sandhill Crane colts making their way behind tall grasses behind Mom and Dad, it shouldn’t have surprised me to see them do the same in the pond.  Mom and Dad walk right through the reeds with their tall legs, and the little guys run/swim behind, dodging the reeds as they go.  I bet those reeds look really really big to the tiny colts!  But I guess this is some of Nature’s camouflage at work.  There are two colts in the photo below.  Can you spot them?

Tiny Colts in the Reeds
Tiny Colts in the Reeds.  Look on the left side of the picture…

The little Sandhill Crane colts were covered in weed seed pods on my first visit, and I wondered if the pods would come off in the bathtub.  Not so much!  That made the photographer happy, because I got more chances to photograph the cuteness. :)

Mommy, the green stuff won't come off!
Mommy, the green stuff won’t come off!

You can compare the previous photo to the next to see just how much the colts grew in three days.  On their almost-week birthday, they stood taller among the reeds.  They still stuck pretty close together as they navigated.  You could tell that “hide in the reeds” is one of the things that Mom and Dad have taught them to do when there is danger around.

Sandhill Crane Colts In the Reeds
In the Reeds

The colts quickly learned that the water is good for more than just washing off feathers. It’s also a great place to find breakfast!  After their mud baths, they were happy to catch up with Mom and Dad on the beach and eat the yummy insects that their parents pulled for them from the mud.  I loved this shot of the colt concentrating hard on the food in Mom’s beak.  I’ll never get tired of photographing these little guys!

Sandhill Crane Colts Closely Supervising
Closely Supervising

Want to learn more about nature photography at Sandhill Crane Nest?

Check out my Sandhill Crane Nest page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!

Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!