Thursday, May 16, 2019

Crops & Clips: Cranes and fluffy colts

We returned to NE Illinois for the second time this spring. Because of a flight cancellation we missed celebrating our daughter's birthday there, but  MaryLou did take part in our granddaughter's Confirmation ceremony. Although our stay was brief and I was still fighting bronchitis, I made time to visit a few birding patches near our daughter's home.  

While looking for sparrows in the last undeveloped plot 
in the Village of North Aurora, adjacent to Jones Meadow Park, I encountered a pair of Sandhill Cranes with two very young colts. They foraged among the yellow flowers in the pasture:

Sandhill Crane colts 08-20190510

Sandhill Crane with colts 094-20190510

Young cranes are called "colts." The dictionary defines "colt" loosely to include, besides male horses and firearms, as "a young or inexperienced person." Although I could not trace the origin of its application to these birds, it is said to reference their long strong legs.

The colts stayed close to their parents as they moved along. Although the chicks are hatched with their eyes open and are active and capable of foraging on their own, their parents feed them or help them find food for the first week or two. Their diet consists mostly of seeds and other plant material, but they do prey upon insects and small vertebrates when encountered.

I witnessed an adult feeding an unidentified morsel to one of the colts:

Sandhill Crane feeding colts 05-20190510

Sandhill Crane feeding colt 06-20190510

Colts become competitive as they age, and parents are said to tend them separately to discourage fighting, but these little ones seemed to get along very well:

Sandhill Crane colts 02-20190510

Sandhill Crane colt 095-20190510

Working out of my laptop in Illinois, I have fallen behind in processing the photos, so here are a few from Florida during the days between trips.

A Northern Mockingbird persistently attacked a Fish Crow:

Fish Crow and Northern Mockingbird 01-20190506

Fish Crow and Northern Mockingbird 02-20190506

The Pine Bank reflected on still waters before sunrise on May 6:

 Pine Bank at dawn 20190506

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh


Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display



  1. Beautiful shot of birds in flight

  2. Sandhills are about my favorite feathered critters ...

    ...I just wish they weren't so comfortable close to the road, around here.

  3. I like the mockingbird and crow silhouette shots. Beautiful sky, too!

  4. The last shots is a very calming image Kenneth but the Sandhill chick steal the show this week Great series of photographs. Have a good week ahead.

  5. Great photos! Love the baby birds. I didn't know they were called colts.

  6. Sorry you missed your daughter's birthday, hope you got compensation. I never knew about little sandhill cranes being known as colts, is that all cranes whose young are called by that name?

  7. Hello, sorry you missed your daughter's birthday celebration. And that you were ill during the visit. At least you were able to do some bird. The Sandhill Cranes and their chicks are a treat to see. The little ones are so cute. Great photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day. Wishing you a great weekend. PS, thanks for the visit and comment on my blog.

  8. Glad you got to make the trip at least! Hope you are feeling better now. We've only seen the baby Cranes precious! I have baby birds on my post today too! Enjoy your weekend!

  9. Your beautiful photos have inspired me to go out and enjoy nature! :-)

  10. The Cranes and their babies is a great sight to see.

  11. darling but lots of predators

  12. What a show-stopper that would be for me. So, so sweet they are.

    Thank you for linking in this week at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

  13. How delightful! Such lovely photos.

  14. Great photos as usual. I do love Sandhill cranes - Florida has Sandhill cranes that do not migrate and live here permanently. It's fun to watch them.

  15. Beautiful shots of the Sandhill Cranes and the small ones. I am sure that was enjoyable to watch.

  16. @Jenny Woolf-- I had the same question about whether "colt" is used universally to describe young cranes. I only found it in reference to Sandhill Cranes but would not be surprised to learn that it is applied to other species. Was surprised that the online dictionaries do not include this use in their definitions.

  17. I can imagine why young cranes came to be known as "colts". With those long legs, long necks and gangling ways they do remind me somewhat of horses but it is not a term I heard before today.

  18. Oh, cancelled flights are so frustrating, especially when you miss your daughter's birthday because of it! But so is fighting bronchitis (I had a few bouts of that in Holland in my thirties, that is why dry California is a better climate for me. Hope your total healing won't be far off!
    The colts are so tiny and cute! Smiled at the one leg of the parents )first capture) being so parallel, reminds me of some human parents:)
    Your last capture is a beautiful finish of this post - thank you much for being faithfully participating in All Seasons1 Have a health week:)

  19. Loved the sandhill cranes. They aren't found around here, so seeing the babies was an especial treat!
    Thanks for joining us again this week!

  20. Great shots of the sandhill cranes! I saw them up close in Florida for the first time when visiting my sister there in January. We see them in Colorado, but only from a distance.

  21. Enjoyed the photos of the Sandhill Cranes especially the chicks. Great images.

  22. How small they are, those little fluffy feather balls!

  23. Hope you are fully recovered. The colts are so tiny...almost hard to believe the size they will grow up to. You came back to Florida about the same time everybody else is leaving. I like staying later that most of our neighbors. (We pretend we’re locals who are glad the snowbirds are gone.)

  24. Those colts sure have a lot of growing to do. When we were at a softball game at the University of Washington we watched a bald eagle being harried by crows. During breaks the cameraman would give us a close up view. - Margy


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