Saturday, February 5, 2011

Long-billed moochers.

The resident Sandhill Cranes at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary have a good thing going, especially on the weekends when human attendance spikes.  Mom and Dad and Young'un flap around, bugling, hunting down clusters of birders.

They seem particularly good at spotting the little brown paper bags of grain that are sold at the entrance, meant to be fed to the milling mobs of mallards.

Once one group's loot has been plundered, off they go, their calls echoing through the marsh.  You don't have to look for them.  They will find you.

Uh-oh, we've been spotted.  Here they come.

Closer, closer...

Note open bill --the battle cry.

And thus we are relieved of our grain.

6 comments:

Seagull Steve said...

I shiver at the thought of being hunted by a crane family....there is no escape....

Are these wild birds that just became acclimated to people?

Hugh said...

SS, I don't know the history of these birds--there have been one or two relatively tame cranes at the sanctuary ever since I started visiting there--but these three definitely are accustomed to humans. Migrant cranes also visit the sanctuary, and as far as I know keep to themselves.

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

Can't blame them; they're well-nigh starved! No-one thinks to bring the family Monday to Friday, so there are no kids with brown paper bags, and the cranes are reduced to eating what their ancestors ate, bugs and grubs and seeds. Poor things!

Crafty Gardener said...

Amazing photos.

Nature ID (Katie) said...

There's something disturbing seeing a sandhill crane eat out of a human hand... but, I guess there's little difference from people who keep bird feeders. I can't believe how tall the cranes are!

Urban Wild said...

Your fly-in sequence is fantastic!