Friday, September 23, 2016

The Sand-Hill Crane Goes Walking

I hadn't seen any Sandhill Cranes since early spring, but there they were in a field on Howell Road when I drove by, just inviting me to watch their grace and beauty.

They were farther away than I would have liked for good photography.  I pulled into the field, but the ground was pretty soft from all the rain we'd had so I made myself content with where I was.  Their long necks were buried in the grass searching for seeds and small critters.

Occasionally, one crane's head would pop up to check out the world while the other continued its seeking.

Then, the other crane would take a turn looking while its partner returned to hunting and pecking.  I wondered if their watchfulness was aimed at me, encroaching on their mealtime efforts.

The tandem pair were nearly in synch with each other as they made their way across the field.  They mate for life, you know.  Sometimes that's two decades or more, a long time in the bird world.

Their whole process reminded me of some lines from Mary Austin's poem, The Sand-Hill Crane:

Whenever the days are cool and clear,
The sand-hill crane goes walking
Across the field by the flashing weir,
Slowly, solemnly stalking.

The field folk know if he comes that way,
Slowly, solemnly stalking,
There is danger and death in the least delay,
When the sand-hill crane goes walking.
The chipmunks stop in the midst of play;
The gophers hide in their holes away;
And 'Hush, oh, Hush!' the field-mice say,
When the sand-hill crane goes walking.


  1. Wonderful captures of this beautiful pair of Sandhill Cranes, Karen!
    Love the fall plummage and the great poem!

  2. Thanks, Jan. These cranes are always a delight to see.