Saturday, April 21, 2012

Final crane sighting for the year?

For the last six weeks or so it seems that I have had to work the Visitor’s Center almost all of my workdays.  I really enjoy the VC one day a week, but three days every week gets a little B-O-R-I-N-G for me.  Several factors have contributed to this lackluster change in my assignment here.  Circumstances arose that required more time indoors.  I’m not complaining too much, I just wanted to set the stage for what occurred this morning. 

I had a visitor fairly early this morning that was hoping to see a crane (all visitor’s believe they’ll see one at the VC).  She had stopped here a number of times on her cross country trips trying to glimpse one.  I explained that it was breeding season; there are about 130 cranes spread out over 19,800 acres, and that the chances of spotting one at this time of the year was less than good.  She, of course, was very disappointed.


As she was watching the refuge video, Doug came in to lead the 10:00 Birds and Buds trail hike.  I told him about her, and he asked if I’d like to take her out to try to see one of the cranes in a refuge vehicle. (He had seen one on his way into work) 

_MG_7714 _MG_7720

Yahooie!!  You know I casually said, “Of course, Doug, if you want me to.”  Ya right!  We were out of there like a rocket on the 4th of July!  We drove about three miles to a horse pasture on the edge of the refuge property and found one of my favorite cranes.  We believe this was the female of the mated wild pair.  Experts are finding out that the male cranes probably do about 90% of the egg brooding, so it’s more likely to see a female feeding away from the nest.  She needs to spend more time feeding to build up her strength after producing the two eggs.

Notice she (?) has no leg bands.  That’s because both cranes of this pair were wild born, and have eluded capture by the biologists for over four years.  That’s the major reason I like this pair best.  Open-mouthed smile I have my own personal experience with a four footed ‘wild child’ that also prefers to escape capture.


Doug and I call this the wild pair, but the biologists refer to them as the orange pair.  That’s because this pair is smart enough to really ‘paint’ themselves up with orange-ish mud on their feathers.  It acts as camouflage when they are brooding the eggs on the nest.  It was a thrill to see this bird for both me and the visitor.  It may well be my last sighting this year before I leave the refuge.  So long my friend, and I hope your youngster beats the odds!


                                                                                THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy