If you spend much time watching the CraneCam, you’ve no doubt seen Mr. Handsome on the scene. No, not Joe Duff, I’m talking about #5-12. This now 2-yr old Whooping crane usually shows up in the morning to observe training, and then may or may not make appearances during the day. And often we’re treated to an evening visit as well.
When he stands on the path, calmly watching the runway action, sometimes I think he’s pining for his childhood and all the happy-flappy fun he had running up and down the runway in 2012. So far this year he hasn’t been disruptive to training – I guess he learned his lesson last year when and he and #4-12 had to be run off the runway with nerf balls!
The truth is he’s a typical guy and he’s there to check out all the girl-birds in this year’s cohort. A couple of times I even heard him wolf-whistle at Marsha (#10-14) when she strolled around the marsh! Of course she ignored him, much as she ignores the pilots when she is engrossed in catching grasshoppers and other marshy stuff.
So Wednesday evening, when Geoff arrived to do the roost check, I was watching the video stream and musing about which of this year’s six girl crane chicks #5-12 would select. Will she like him in return? Will she feel like she already knows him from all his hanging out at the pen??
As I was pondering these oh-so-important questions, Geoff started a slow stroll around the wet pen and all seven chicks were just about glued to his costume! All the way around, they just stuck close by him like he was the latest American Idol and they were his teeny bopper groupies!
Geoff then meandered outside the pen to (I presume) check the hotwire. As he walked the perimeter, the chicks continued to follow him attentively. At one point he stopped to (I presume) pull some tall grass from the hotwire and all seven chicks also stopped to (I presume) supervise…
Then they clearly decided he needed help…
Well, my final thought before falling asleep last night was that #5-12 doesn’t stand a chance with these chicks! This is obviously Geoff’s Whooping crane harem!