Thursday, September 13, 2018


I returned to farm country hoping to see some Sandhill Cranes.  These birds love to feast on corn stalks that’ve been harvested and plowed into the soil.  Right away I was disappointed because I could see the corn fields hadn’t yet been plowed.

What I did see was a flock of turkeys walking along in a straight line and pecking at the ground for nourishment, typically berries, insects, and nuts.

I saw turkeys occasionally when I lived in Northport, but I really haven’t taken a big interest in these birds.  Except when they are displaying their beautiful tail feathers, I find their appearance somewhat unusual, especially their red throat wattles and bulging eyes.

In fact, the turkey’s head reminded me a bit of E.T., you know, the Extra-Terrestrial.  As the birds were walking out of range, I decided to move on.

 I was just about ready to call it quits for the evening when I caught movement in a field across from Hency Marsh.  Sandhill Cranes!  One appeared to be digging in the dirt while its mate stood watch.

The digging crane seemed poised to plunge its dagger-like bill down into the soil searching for vegetation, insects, or grains.

The crane finally plunged its bill deep into the soil.  I couldn’t wait to see what it came up with.

I was learning the crane actually had a process to its foraging.  It would delve deeply into the soil to grab a bill-full of soil.  Then it would drop the soil on the surface of the ground and pick through it to see what edibles it had found.

In the end, I found more similarities between turkeys and cranes than I’d expected.  Both move along with a herky-jerky motion, and both use their bills to peck into the soil to find food.


  1. Beautiful shots and interesting commentary, Karen!
    I'm glad you found the cranes. I love these birds!

    1. Thanks, Jan. I remember the many beautiful images you've shot of turkeys in display.

  2. We have a bunch of Turkeys down by us. The population just keeps growing. The cranes have really not started there annual migration yet, I'm only seeing a couple of stray ones so far. You know that I also love the Sandhill Crane. They are so interesting to watch as your photos illustrate, nice job.

  3. Thanks, Mark. Last summer there were several families of cranes that made their permanent homes in the fields and woods where I often shoot. This summer that's not been the case. Perhaps the dryness has made a difference.