backyard visitors, birds, Cranes, Florida wildlife, nature, photography

Big bird, little bird…

Yes, the Hooded Merganser was back the other day.  And he brought along a friend of the female persuasion.  With eaglets and owlets on the brain lately it’s probably not surprising that I immediately wondered if we would have some tiny little Mergansers out there in a bit.  So I googled them and found an Audubon site with a wealth of information about just that.  With one disappointing map that shows all of Florida as a non-breeding site for them.  Darn.

But their breeding routine makes them quite the adventurous little ducks.  They build their nests in tree hollows, from 10 to 50 feet in the air.  Rarely 80 feet in the air, but I suppose for them to add that stat it must have been done a time or two.  On day one the mother Merganser calls to the chicks from the ground below the nest, and one by one they leap to the ground!  There was no mention of how many chicks manage to survive the leap, so does that mean that they all do manage such a feat of derring-do at such a young age?  Maybe I’m glad they won’t be nesting out there.  I might feel like I have to stand below the nest and try to catch them on their way down.  It would be hard not to.HoodedmergansersAnd the cranes were back too.  Calling as only they can, and close enough that I knew they were right outside the door.  They seemed to be interested in the chickens next door.  The last part of the fence to their yard is chain link, and I thought the cranes wanted to see what they were scratching and clucking about.  When I came out to take pictures they barely reacted to me at all.  But then something caught their attention across the lake.  I couldn’t see what it was, but their reaction surprised me.  I heard a different, low growl of sorts as they looked intently across the way.  A far cry from their normal call.  Whatever was the problem caused them to suddenly take off and fly off the lake.

2-13cranes2-13taking offAnother tease of seeing them and hoping they’ll settle down on the lake and raise a family.  Still looking for the happy ending even after all these years.