Red in the face

Sandhill crane closeup
During migration periods in spring and fall, the nearby migratory bird sanctuary is a stop-off for a couple of dozen or so Sandhill cranes. But in the past couple of years there have been a handful of these elegant birds that have stayed year round, and have followed the lead of the ubiquitous mallards who shamelessly mob sanctuary visitors for food handouts. Two or three of the cranes will even eat from a grain-filled hand… There is one crane in particular that i like to hand-feed, one of the more mature birds, because his bill isn’t aligned well so that at the end point of the bill the upper and lower pieces cross slightly, enough to prevent him from picking grain off the ground. He seems in good shape physically so I gather he manages to feed himself one way or another, however I like to make sure he gets his share of the goodies when I’m there. He’s a bit more stand-offish than the younger birds, but gladly and politely accepts my offering if I make a point to single him out and approach him.


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