Beyond the BackyardSandhill Crane Nest #2

The Best Morning with My Sandhill Crane Colts (From April)

My little Sandhill Crane was born on a Wednesday night.  As luck had it, the following Friday was my off-Friday.  I returned to the nest (again!) and the light actually cooperated with me for the first time.  I spent the morning crawling in the wet grass, following from a respectful distance as the little family searched for breakfast.  It was my best morning with my little Sandhill Crane colts.

Family Portrait
Family Portrait

I arrived a few minutes before sunrise, and already the parents were up and off the nest.  Such a change from the previous day, when I waited several hours for them to get up!

Breakfast was on the agenda for the little cranes.  They ran behind their parents, who handed out tasty morsels at a pretty fast rate.  No wonder the Sandhill Crane colts grow so fast!

Bugs for Breakfast
Bugs for Breakfast

At two days old, the colts were starting to show a bit of personality.  This little guy yawned and stuck out his tongue, clearly unaware of his picturesque pose with the pretty purple flowers!

Stick Your Tongue Out!
Stick Your Tongue Out!

Nearby, his brother ran with his wings flapping each time Mom offered him a bug.  Too often he ran parallel to my camera.  I was really excited when I finally got him running towards the camera, with both wing-stubs spread.  “Someday I will fly!” he vowed to me.

Balancing Act
Balancing Act

Both little Sandhill Crane colts were pretty feisty that morning.  They romped and bit at each other whenever they weren’t eating.  After photographing several families of Sandhill Cranes this spring, I was still after “the perfect romp” shot, with good angles from both colts.  I had to laugh when I came close with this shot, only to have both parents reach down and photobomb my shot!

Parental Photobomb
Parental Photobomb

Patience makes perfect, though.  I kept trying for “the shot,” and finally I was rewarded with a great series of romps.  The above shot was my favorite.  It won me an Honorable Mention in my local Audubon photo contest this summer. :)

Playtime!
Playtime!

The younger colt got a little tired as his parents and older sibling wandered through the grass.  The little guy took a quick nap, then woke up and found his family nowhere to be seen!  (They were just 10-20 feet away, but across a small stream, so he couldn’t see them.)  The little guy didn’t seem to care that I was standing near him, mesmerized and afraid of scaring him by moving too much.  He called for his mom, who eventually came back and got him.  But not before I got an adorable shot…

I'm Cute!!!
I’m Cute!!!

You may be surprised at how much my little colts had grown by the next time I photographed them…stay tuned for my next post!

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