Sandhill Crane Nesting Pair and Chicks

Back in February in my post about the Indian supermarket I found in Tampa, I announced that I was reducing my posts on this blog from weekly to twice monthly. Well….that didn’t quite work out the way I thought. Instead of just giving me more time for both my blogs, which it did, it also caused a cascade of potential blogs posts to pile up. So, I announce today with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I am returning to my weekly posts here. Look for more improvements in the next few months as well. Yay! I hope you are happy about it, too!

So, in honor of spring and new beginnings, I’m posting a sort of bird family album. Next to my apartments is a section of wildlife preserve with many animals, including hundreds of birds. Walking along this preserve one day I noticed a sandhill crane on a nest in the water near the fence. Sandhills mate for life, and Daddy Sandhill was never far from the nest, either.

I brought my husband out to see the nest shortly thereafter. We were so lucky to witness her laying her second egg just then. FYI, sandhills look very drunk just before laying an egg!

As you can see, sandhills are very large birds, almost four feet tall, with long legs and a long neck. They live all over North America, though I’d never seen one til we moved to Florida. They are very loud and their calls carry very far. I noticed them because they are unafraid of traffic and will walk right out in front of your car, especially if you are in a hurry.

After the egg-laying, I went right home and looked up the incubation period for sandhills. It is 29-32 days, so I marked my calendar. Of course I visited the nest frequently over that period, but 30 days to the day I saw her lay the egg, I found this!

A chick! I was so excited! As you can see, there was still one egg unhatched in the nest, too.

Like any proud auntie, I took about a thousand photos of the new guy:





The next day I saw the little one foraging with dad a short distance from the nest:

Then, when I got to the nest, there was mom with Chick #2!

The smaller chick proved harder to photograph because the whole family then abandoned the nest altogether the next day, finding other places to sleep in the wetland area. I am forever grateful for my Nikon zoom lens that helped me get close to the wild things while I could.

I can still hear the sandhills but I haven’t seen them in a couple of weeks. The last photo I have of the whole family is this one – you can just barely see the younger chick on the far side of the older one in the grasses beyond the parents:

So, Happy Easter, Happy Spring and Happy whatever you celebrate. It’s a joyous time of year with new growth and new life everywhere – plug into that!

Photo for No Apparent Reason:

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