The Cranes are Back…and Gorgeous!

What's the blackbird saying?  "How's the weather up there?"  or maybe "Are you my mother.."

What’s the blackbird saying? “How’s the weather up there?” or maybe “Are you my mother..”

Well, a little while ago, I went with my friends Ann and David to track down the illusive sandhill cranes in the hill towns of Western Massachusetts.  Well, they weren’t so illusive this time (this was my third try this summer!).  Ah what a beautiful pair.  Gorgeous because we found them close by the Chesterfield Gorge!  My friend who lives nearby said that she has seen a third crane as well.  So stay tuned for the Sandhill Soap Opera, “Cranes of our Lives…”
The Cornell Ornithology app does not have their range extending into the Massachusetts but this is the third year the pair has been here and rumor has it there is a breeding pair in the eastern part of the state.  The app says that they have beautiful courtship displays to form mating pairs (they mate for life), and other displays to maintain the pair bond.  Also, a crane fossil about 10 million years old was found in Nebraska that is structurally identical to the modern Sandhill Crane, “making it the oldest known bird species still surviving”  Oh Baby!
sandhill pair with color medium Remember back in October, Ann and I had incredibly luck (due to Ann’s eagle eyes) finding them before they headed south.  They were white with the beautiful red crown.  As you can see, they are a brownish color now.  Actually, their real color in the summer is gray but they preen with mud and vegetation containing iron oxide which colors them the reddish brown.  Even with the brown coloring, they continue to sport that very eye-catching crimson crown!  Take a look:

Here are some other pictures.  You can click on any pic to enlarge:

The pair always was very close to each other!

The pair always was very close to each other!

You look right and I'll look left!

You look right and I’ll look left!

Just Gorgeous!

Just Gorgeous!

pair 2 pair 3 pair 4

Wow, I wonder if they ever tie themselves into a knot!

Wow, I wonder if they ever tie themselves into a knot!

crane head bend individual 1 individual back individual close individual good individual in grass good individual preening backwards individual ruffled individual with back feathers

 

 

About John Body

I live in Western Massachusetts, in the incredibly beautiful Connecticut River Valley. I've been hiking, kayaking, and tracking wildlife throughout the Valley with lots of photos and videos that people may like to see. Whenever I travel I also take my cameras just in case I see great scenery or wildlife. My passion is wildlife conservation so I try to attend wildlife workshops and land preservation events (Habitat, Habitat, Habitat!). When I get a chance, I videotape the experts, they're just so knowledgeable and inspiring. I hope you enjoy my posts.
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