we have a pair of sandhill cranes who have taken up residence in our cattails this summer. we watched their courtship dance all may, and sure enough, by late may we found their nest with two eggs in it. incubation takes four week. so we sit with bated breath to see if the parents can ignore the daily disturbances on our busy suburban lake long enough to incubate the eggs. our pair is young. juveniles. we know this because of the rusty brown feathers that will eventually turn ashen in adulthood. this adventurous pair has a lot on their plate. in addition to protecting the nest, and incubating the eggs, it is also their annual molting season. i have found six wing feathers, each over a foot long, in our yard already. i feel grateful to have them these cranes in our yard. they have brought us immense joy and it brings me pleasure to know they found safety and refuge in our little corner of the world. and should we find a colt or two (yes, the babes are called colts!) in our yard in a couple weeks, i will be over the moon.
sandhill crane feathers (A. c. canadensis)