Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Me Looking At You, Or You Looking At Me?

I seem to have stumbled upon a kind of Sandhill Crane "Tree Of Life", which is odd, because they normally have nothing to do with trees.

Hi there bird junkies. You can't get enough, can you? That's why you keep coming back. Today's bird of choice is the Sandhill Crane, a species that has captured the eyes, ears and hearts of many a bird junkie. I would characterize Sandhills as being a kind of "downer" bird, in that they may cause a soothing effect and a mild euphoria when viewed in moderate to large numbers, particularly at sunset, sunrise, or if a high percentage happen to be vocalizing at the time.

It is the only widespread crane in the United States, occurring from coast to coast and from Canada to Mexico, with the bulk of the population being found in the interior states. Some individuals, particularly in places like Florida, are quite abiding and don't mind hanging out with people, but I haven't been fortunate to meet any of those birds. The fact that you can hunt them in some states doesn't make it any easier to get very close to them. All of these pictures were taken last November at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, in central New Mexico.

Whooping Cranes, the only other North American cranes, and white with black wingtips and are considerably larger than Sandhills. They are highly endangered (at one point last century there were only a few dozen), but can still be found in a couple places. I highly recommend looking at them in person....personally speaking, I found that viewing them caused a tidal wave of endorphins to be released. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas is the best place to do this.

Whether the Whooping Cranes are around or not, anyplace with Sandhills is blessed. Now go forth, and imbibe.

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