Monday, June 14, 2010

Greater Sandhill Cranes

One of the hardest things to do in life is grow up, and the now 12 day old Sandhill Crane chick is doing just that. The chick doesn't fall over as often, but warmer weather means that it is not as active. Size wise the chick hasn't grown much larger, but in a few weeks it should start to grow taller. For most of the time I was out shooting pair of cranes and their chick was not visible, but I was still able to get a few shots of them.

I was able to listen to one very knowledgeable bird watcher talk about these cranes, and I learned a few new things. The Sandhill Cranes in this area are Greater Sandhill Cranes. The Greater Sandhill Cranes are noticeably bigger than the two other types, from what I was told. Also unlike the other two types of Sandhill Cranes, the Greater Sandhill Crane falls under the endangered species act, meaning their numbers are lower than in the past or currently decreasing.

Pairs in the Greater Vancouver area have been successful with their young, most having both babies survive at least a few months, and I have seen a few of the juvenile birds around at different times. The pair that resides at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary have not been so lucky, last year both their chicks were killed by predators within a few days of their birth. This year it looks as if the chick will live, if it is not attacked by a predator.

I had an interesting day out at the sanctuary, as I was trying to photograph smaller birds for the most part. I got some distant shots of Cedar Waxwings, and some Warblers, but for the most part they were too far away to get decent shots. I had one close encounter with a Cedar Waxwing, but in the few seconds of time it took to get focus locked on, and ready to hit the shutter, the bird was startled by my presence and flew away. I'm hoping to get some better shots in the days and weeks to come.