When I was young I never saw Sand Hill Cranes except in pictures. Now they seem to be everywhere. Some people find them noisy and annoying. Their cries can be heard a mile away. Years ago a nurse taking care of an ailing woman in the ground floor of the Florida condo below this one fed a pair of cranes for the amusement of her patient. After the woman died and the nurse moved on, the cranes continued to come expecting their twice daily cup of dried corn and other seed. My friend Carole took over and continues feeding them to this day.
When I arrived here in February only one of the pair came at a time, a sure sign of nesting. After two months of solo feeding the pair showed up this morning with two little ones. The chicks appear to be about a week old. They went through the motions of feeding but are too young for such roughage. They appeared to be along only for the walk. When they are older the parents will select appropriate bits and place it in their tiny beaks for them.
The cranes I see up north are a rusty brown color because of the mud they rub into their feathers as part of the preening process. Northern mud contains iron accounting for the rusty color. Florida mud is mainly a dull gray, more like the natural color of the cranes’ feathers.
Young Grandpa Keith