I’ve been following the growth of the baby sandhill cranes this past month. They were late arriving and I assume the cranes just postponed nesting and breeding since we had several freezes in Central Florida. Maybe they had eggs in February like the previous year, but lost them to the cold weather. I’ve been here for five winters and this was our first freeze. Anyway in March, there were finally little fuzzballs following the parent cranes around. Our pair of cranes surprised us with twins this year.
I took lots of photos whenever they came by the house. Guess I’m the crane version of paparazzi. When the babies were really small, I’d hear the parents making a purring kind of noise in their throats. This might have helped keep the babies close to them or it might have been a warning sound to me to keep back. When a parent would raise its head to full height and look directly at me, I figured it was time to back away.
Now that the babies are more in their pre-teen stage (no feathers yet), the parents let me get closer with the camera. They are hungry little fellows, quick to pluck a grub away from the parent who pecked around in the sandy soil to bring it up. It seems this year that the cranes are making pretty deep holes to bring up the grubs and making quite a mess of the golf course fairways. I’m careful when hitting the golf ball as I’d sure hate to hit one of the little guys. A golf ball at full speed could be lethal.
Here are some photos of the baby cranes (I have my full album on Webshots if you want to see them all).