Monday, November 3, 2008

Whooping Crane Family-Part VII

Happy reunion!
When the chick's health check was complete (see Nov 1 post), he was released again to his parents and immediately ran to the water to escape.
Adult whooping cranes are wading birds, but their young are capable of swimming as a natural defense against predation. One of the many important functions of wetlands to this species, whooping cranes build their nests on elevated platforms in the water, making the chick less vulnerable to predation from the shore. Adult whooping cranes also roost in water so that the sound of a splash can wake them if a predator approaches.

The two-day old chick you see here could swim much faster than he could run in the grass. As the chick matures, his legs will rapidly grow taller and the webs on his feet will disappear. Below the male stands guard as the female forages for food to feed the chick.
Still stressed, the chick initially swam rapidly around the open water. The female gains his attention and offers food. Feeding helps to restore calm to the family.

She watches as he swallows the food she offered him.
The chick soon climbs out of the water and is surrounded by attentive parents eager to feed and sooth him.
Throughout my observations, attentiveness was evident in the way the parents stayed close to their chick, watched over him and offered him food, tirelessly and without pause. I enjoy the larger images that show habitat, that offer a larger understanding of the species ecology and the story of their lives. And then there are the close ups, the images that allow you to see into their eyes, to look more deeply into the bond between parent and chick. (Have I ever mentioned how much I love photography?) Within a short time, former peace is restored to the whooping crane family and the parents return to a tranquil pace of foraging and feeding their young chick.
Don't miss the whooping crane chick video! Click the link to see the entire Whooping Crane Family series (start at the bottom where it begins!) Also check out the whooping crane ultralight migration and the whooping crane's recovery.
Linked to Bird Photography Weekly #10, at, raising bird conservation awareness.


  1. Great pics and post, once again.
    I was looking forward for this episode!

  2. Thank you Amila! I am so enjoying reliving the moments I spent with this family!

  3. It is always wonderful to watch birds teacing their chicks to forage for themselves.
    Amazing how such a huge beak can be so tender.
    Wonderful photographs.

  4. Hi Vickie
    I came here from Kelly's blog. First, congratulations on your award.

    I never saw a crane chick before. Your pictures are wonderful, and the information was too.

  5. Vickie, your photojounalistic story is wonderful. The whooping chicks are so adorable! I see that you've been to my blog and discovered your award! Congratulations to you and keep up the good work! I love your paintings!

  6. Have to correct myself. I said I came from Kelly's blog. It was Kathie or Kathie's Birds. Don't know why I made that mistake. Sorry.

  7. Hi Arija. I have had the same amazement, both at the size of the adult compared to the tiny chick and the precision with which the crane is able to grasp tiny bits of food to feed the chick. Nature is so full of amazing activities!

    Welcome Bobby! I knew you meant Kathie. Thank you for visiting and for leaving your comments!

  8. Hi Kathie! Thank you for your comments about the story. It has been a joy to revisit my experience with this crane family and to display their photos.

    And yes! I was pleasantly surprised to discover my blog listed among those you honored with the Arte y pico "over the top" blog award. Thank you! Your comments about my blog and my art are sincerely appreciated.

  9. Vickie these images and story were so peaceful but moving too..These intimate photos that you capture are
    precious memories! I am so happy to have met you through Kathies blog..Congrats to you on the special award...I am one of her picks too. Now I must go back and view your photos once again!

  10. Oh! wonderful
    what a touching moment!.

  11. Hi:
    Do yo take now this pictures? It is cold and very close to winter hiere and the breeding season past few month ago. Only the Crossbils are breeding now, beacose of the pines on pine trees...
    Fantastic pictures and story!
    Regards, Theo

  12. Hi Theo! Thanks for asking. These photos were taken in June of another year. A whooping crane chick has fledged by this time of year and in three short months has reached the size of its parents.

    I think its a bit colder where you are than here in Tennessee,in southeast USA. We had a beautiful 70 degree day today!

  13. Welcome Nature Girl. Congratulations on your award too! And thank you for your warm comments. I look forward to spending more time enjoying your photos.

    Thanks, Tabib. It was a wonderful moment of reunion. I was very happy!

  14. Waw, 70ºF, how much is this in celsius? Why all we don't have the same mesures? In Andalucia it is around 20ºC in day time, and now, as cold night is about 14ºC. Now we have cold and rainy outtom! Soon the grey crane or common crane,grus grus, will be hiere wintering! Regards

  15. I agree. The whole world should be using the same system. Any one want to give converting 70°F to celsius a try?

    Be sure and post photos of the cranes when they arrive!

  16. I had no idea how different they were as young chicks! Thank you for such wonderful photos to show that :)

  17. Hi Red. Thanks for visiting. I had seen the juveniles on migration so it was a special treat for me to observe this chick interacting with his parents.

  18. i love all of these whooping crane with chick pix! wonderful! i've been scrolling through enjoying all of your photos. i love the bird shots...somehow i can never get them to sit long enough for me. lol thanks for visiting my space.

  19. Vickie, absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing the whooping crane family - I am amazed!

  20. Hi Gina. Birds are a challenge at first. I think the trick is to go where they hang out and just be still for a while.

    Hi Jeanne. They were an amazing family to watch. I loved it.

  21. Comment posted Dec 5 by Ulhas Anand at

    Hi Vickie, I came to your blog through your comment on my blog. Thanks for visiting! This is a wonderful series that you have captured! Great pictures and illustrations. Thanks for sharing.

    Welcome Ulhas! Thanks for your comments.


For the Love of It...

...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.
Sendivogius (1750)

Your Uncapped Creativity...

Your Uncapped Creativity...
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable. Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly." ----the great dancer, Martha Graham