A whooping crane chick's day. I witnessed this peaceful scene between the chick and its mother on the chick's second day as they rested near the water's edge.
There was a constant communication between the parents and the chick, reassuring even to me as I observed. The brood call is a purring sound, deep, gutteral and constant, with the male's tone slightly deeper than the female's. The chick answers with tiny peeps and these soothing sounds assure the family that all is peaceful and safe in their world. The whooping crane is a prey species, ever vigilant for dangers and intruders. The parents working as a team, watch over their chick, in this case, the male hunting in the water, the female staying near the chick and almost exclusively presenting him with insects she catches nearby.Above, the chick has wandered back to the nest, a mass of plucked grasses which are now darkened by decay. As he rests, the female brings him an insect she has clasped in her bill. (The precision of these catches never ceases to fascinate me.)Below the male is hunting for crusteceans and tadpoles in the water. The disarray of feathers you see are molted feathers that have not fallen off yet. The whooping crane's appearance is usually sleek with its feathers neatly preened.
The chick's chief activities include sleeping, eating and learning what to eat and how to be a crane as it exercises and grows stronger.
The chick is moving past the male as he tries to present a morsel of food.
Though he appears to be, the chick isn't exactly following the female above, either. He is exploring and learning to use his legs. She watches over him carefully, even while hunting, and shifts directions to stay near him.
Time to rest a while.
With the exception of group tours that came through the observation area periodically, for much of the day I was alone in this exhibit wetland with the cranes and their chick. The silence gave me plenty of opportunity to forget there was another world. What I mostly heard was the vocalizations of the whooping cranes, the rippling of water, the buzz of insects and the beeping of a few swallows over head. This world that I glimpsed, at its best, was an incredibly peaceful world.
Next: Video clip! For all Whooping Crane Family posts click here.
Thanks to the International Crane Foundation for this observation opportunity. For more of my posts on whooping cranes click here.
This post has been linked to Bird Photography Weekly #6 at Birdfreak.com to promote the love of birds and conservation.
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.