The next several days followed a pattern. Every morning the family left their island nest early and wandered the perimeter of the lake, babies staying relatively close to the parents, greedily snatching up whatever tidbits the parents offered to them. I found it amazing that they kept this up most of the day, returning to the island in the late afternoon. A lot of activity for those tiny little legs. As soon as Mom laid down on the nest the babies climbed aboard, snuggling under her wings. I looked forward to coming home every day and sitting out back with my camera, watching them grow.
Until the day they weren’t out there when I got home. I’d seen two adult cranes out there at lunch time, but no babies. Not ‘our’ cranes, I hoped, but I was worried. And very relieved to see the family return from their travels at the usual time. They entered down the hill out of a yard across the lake, and wandered on the far side for a while. When it was time to head for home Dad flew to the island and kicked out any intruders that were there, clearing the way for Mom and the kids to come home.
I had been told that the Sandhill cranes keep their babies sequestered when they are tiny, and it isn’t common to see babies when they are that small, so it felt a bit like a priviledge to see them every day. Especially from your kitchen window. But as it became evident that this was their new daily routine I had to wonder, where do they go..