Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sandhill Cranes in the Neighborhood

In the seven years we've lived in this house, we've never had the sandhill cranes visit our yard, at least not while we were here. There are certain lawns they regularly inhabit, and I figured those folks feed the cranes. But this past week, the cranes moved in, stalking about our yard, their flock growing from three to nine, as additional birds flew in. Apparently the eating was good, and we weren't feeding them.

It was fascinating watching them aerate our lawn:  big, long beak poked into the earth and wiggled about, repeat, again and again for hours, by all the birds. It is the most natural lawn aerating I've ever seen. The robins just poke in and out, quickly grabbing their worms, but the cranes really worked the earth as they poked.

One evening as we drove in, the cranes were lying sleeping, standing about not feeding quite as actively, but they did not stir as the car pulled into the drive 15 feet from them. Nor did they stir as we got out, and as I walked by them to water the greenhouse. Sometimes they seem timid, and other times they seem indolent, not inclined to move out of the way when standing about on our road.

Watching them fly is fascinating as their long legs just hang behind them, looking incredibly ungainly.

Here is a view of the cranes as they strutted about our yard:

Our cat and the cranes have an interesting relationship. Our cat will slowly walk across the driveway towards the flock, tail waving languidly, and the flock will slowly move away. Our cat will then sit down and watch them for a few minutes. They watch him back. Then our cat will walk away, and the cranes will follow him! They match his pace, and they keep the same distance from him at all times-never closer than 5 feet or so. Neither seems overly bothered by the other, but they are definately aware. It is interesting for us to watch from the house or the deck, as the cat advances, then the birds advance, back a forth a few times. Our cat ignores moose in our yard, seemingly unaware of them, and he reacts with hisses to dogs or other cats on the property, so this is a unique relationship!

No comments:

Post a Comment