Sandhill Crane Chick

This morning, I had the opportunity to visit a Sandhill Crane nest where the adults were graced with a freshly hatched Sandhill Crane chick. It is nesting season here in Florida and the Sandhill Cranes are quite busy with tending to their eggs and hatchlings. Most nests are obscured by vegetation with makes taking photographs of the adults and chicks on the nest very difficult. But this particular nest is built up on a bed of straw with very little vegetation surrounding it. It is a photographer’s dream nest.

When I arrived today, I found one of the adults sitting on the nest and keeping the 1 day old chick nice and warm. We had several opportunities to photograph the chick with the adults but there was one particular sequence that I wanted to share with you. The chicks like to get up underneath the adults wings for protection and warmth. So when the adult is on the nest, you can’t see any indication of the chick.

Click an image to view in a lightbox.

Sandhill Crane Adult
Sandhill Crane Adult

It is quite challenging for the chick to find the “back door” to get under the wings. In a few days, he’ll have that skill down pat.

sandhill crane chick
Hey, ma! Where’s the door?

It was heartbreaking to watch the little guy try to figure out how to get back out. The next few images chronicle his attempt.

sandhill crane chick
Watch that first step!
sandhill crane chick
This can’t be good!
How do you stop this thing?
How do you stop this thing?
sandhill crane chick
Faceplant!

In the end, he picked himself up and made his way back up to the top of the nest.

sandhill crane chick
How about a snack, mom?

It was a fantastic morning of photography with some really cooperative subjects and great friends. These aren’t my best shots of the day, but I liked the sequence of the little guy learning the ropes and falling down the side of the nest. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

7 Comments

  • Jess Yarnell

    March 24, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Wow, that was fast! I haven’t even finished going through my pictures yet. I love the tumble that you captured. You really got the head-over-heels feeling!

    • Michael

      March 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm

      Thanks, Jess! I sure enjoyed our time together this weekend!

  • Scott Simmons

    March 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Cool! Is this at Red Bug?

    • Michael

      March 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      Scott, this was taken in Melbourne. The chicks at Red Bug hatched about two weeks ago. I haven’t been over there in a week, but I imagine their getting pretty big by now.

      • Scott Simmons

        April 1, 2013 at 9:57 pm

        I should have visited there more often. I missed them. That’s about a month earlier than last year, I think.

  • Georgia Wilson

    March 24, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Great shots and a great story. Really enjoyed this!

    • Michael

      March 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      Thank you, Georgia!