Hatch Day +1 (Sandhill Crane Colts from April)


This post continues my story of the adorable Sandhill Crane colt that I saw hatch this April.  Elated after such a fun experience, I returned to the nest the following morning, full of anticipation of the amazing photographs I would take.  Then Nature reminded me that photographers must be patient!  I sat at the nest for three or four hours, and barely got a glimpse of the babies. :)  It was a privilege just to be there, though.

Good Morning
Good Morning

I arrived at the nest just as the sun was peeking out over the horizon.  It was a foggy morning.  Mom was sitting on the nest, and Dad was digging in the grass nearby, looking for his breakfast.  I sat down with my cameras and waited.  Then a little orange colt popped out and said good morning to Mom!  He was only out for a second, but I loved how Mom turned to look at him and help tuck him back in under her wing.

It's Your Very First Morning, Little Ones!
It’s Your Very First Morning, Little Ones!

After an hour or so, Mom finally stood up.  Dad came in to supervise as the babies toppled out from underneath Mom.  My little colt that I had seen hatch the night before was all dried off and ready for his first day of life.  It was pretty easy to tell which was the older colt, as the youngest was still a little shy and not too firm on his feet yet.  I watched him learn to walk that morning.

Nose to Nose
Nose to Nose

Sandhill Cranes are such patient, gentle creatures.  I loved how Mom reached down to check on her colts, and this little nose-to-nose moment was very tender.  Then I guess she decided that they needed another nap, because she lay down again, tucking the colts back under her wings.  Not fair!  I sat patiently (ok, maybe not so patiently) for another hour before she decided to let them back up again.

Hello There!
Hello There!

At least the sun was out by the time I had another colt sighting.  The fog had burned off, and after a good long wait, I saw Mom’s feathers moving a bit.  Then out popped a little colt head!  It was the older colt, and he was ready to go exploring.  He didn’t let Mom tell him to take another nap.  He took matters into his own (slightly unsteady) feet and wandered out onto the nest.

Hi, We're New Here...
Hi, We’re New Here…

My last shot of the morning was the two colts together on the nest after Mom flew off in search of breakfast.  The older colt is on the right, making his way down to the water to swim after Mom.  “My” younger colt sat quietly on the nest, watching and waiting, seemingly unsure of what to do.  He didn’t seem to believe that he, too, could traverse the narrow passageway of water that separated him from his mom!  But eventually he did.  Nature is pretty cool, when the bird you see come out of an egg at 7pm at night is already swimming by 9am the following morning.

More on my cute colts in the following post…they were much more active on my next visit!! :)

Want to learn more about nature photography at Sandhill Crane Nest #2?

Check out my Sandhill Crane Nest #2 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!

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