Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sandhill Crane Colts and Learning to Fly

Photograph by Robert Bieber

A young Sandhill Crane is called a colt. I absolutely adore this photograph of the colt striding along with the parent. The little guy looks particularly dinosaurial.

Speaking of which the earliest fossil record found so far is 2.5 million years old. So they've been around for quite sometime.

Unfortunately these days, three of the subspecies are endangered and the remaining members of the other subspecies though not listed as endangered are only fragmentary populations. Unfortunately they're considered one of the tastiest of game birds. Currently at least, as they'd been nearly extirpated by hunting in Wisconsin, a huntable game bird they are not--at least for the moment.

Adults mate for life and in the wild can live up to 25 years, in captivity they live twice as long, up to 50 years old. Both parents feed the colts who learn to feed themselves quite quickly.

Learning to fly is a much longer process, consisting of running and dancing with their parents. And from my photographs even after flighted it takes some real practice to get all those long appendages coordinated enough not to run into their parents or siblings in the air. But so far everyone seems to handle these collisions pretty well and I've not seen anyone break anything or plummet to the earth.
Examples coming when I get them to load.
Donegal Browne

No comments: