Fox Follow up…

How many ways are there to update people on the status of the cranes? I don’t know, but I think everyone else has pretty much has it covered for now. Instead, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to respond to comments on my previous posts. Ok, so, in order:

Comments on my first post:  The New Guy – Belated Introduction

AintThatAmerica September 23, 2015 5:02 pm


My assumption is that this is in response to the photo of me holding the baby crane. No worries, that little fella was a wild-hatched baby Sandhill and handled for a mere five minutes. She immediately joined back up with her parents when I set her down.

Bonnie September 23, 2015 8:21 am

What a Hoot (Whoop?)!! You’ll definitely fit right in! (But… no Duct Tape?)

Of course I have duct tape.  I also maintain an assortment of industrial adhesives.  All of which are well suited for any number of pranks.  They have practical applications too…

Sue McCurdy September 23, 2015 8:20 am

Where’s your white dress Jeff?

I assume that this too was in response to the photo of me holding the baby Sandhill.  See above for explanation. And I prefer to call it a muumuu.

Commons on my second post:  “The Pitot Tube…”

Mindy October 4, 2015 12:29 pm Reply

Very nice Jeff…and comical to read. So if there a place we might see the described incidents? Would love to see the water bottle incident! And I assume these were sandies right?

This was one of several comments & emails I received regarding the “incidents” I referenced in this post.  Here are synopses of a couple of these “incidents” (yes, all cranes involved in were Sandhills):

“joyful discovery and summary re-destruction of dead chipmunk incident of 2010”: A pair of cranes with two young colts came across a dead chipmunk on the side of the road that ran through “their” golf course. The female immediately grabbed the putrid remains by the tail and took off running with the carcass swinging about and frequently slapping her on each side of her face as she frolicked about. Brimming with anticipation of their turn to take possession, both colts charged after her but were unable to keep up. After she’d had her fill she repeatedly tossed the chipmunk into the air and slammed it on the ground until it began to break apart. This afforded each colt, neither of which were large enough to pick up the whole thing, to partake. The parcels of what remained were then gleefully deconstructed in a flurry of spastic dancing, first by the female, and then mimicked by her young. Then, in a second, all interest was lost. The three of them rejoined the male – he’d opted out of the festivities in favor of giving me the stink-eye while he stood his ground between me and his family – and then resumed the hunt for grubs on the fairway. Regularly witnessing similar scenarios play out with various items that were newly introduced into cranes’ daily routines made it quite clear: If it’s new, different, or stands out in some way (like a pitot tube), it must be explored… destroying it in the process is simply a bonus.

“mass disruption of a thousand cranes by empty water bottle fiasco of 2013”, and corresponding, “thousand cranes compete for possession of empty water bottle debacle of 2013”: While helping out with a recruitment survey at Jasper-Pulaski in Indiana I saw an empty water bottle get blown across the street and roll into a large flock of Sandhills. Such roadside refuse is, of course, all too common, and as such it rarely elicits a remarkable response. But one bird at the peripheries of the flock was apparently caught off guard. He leapt into the air to avoid it and, in doing so, propagated a wave of panicked leaping that cleanly parted the flock in front of the bottle’s path. The bottle then came to rest at the feet of one seemingly unfazed bird and, after a few exploratory jabs, he picked it up. Had he not let on how pleased he was with his new found prize then his possession of it might have been more than ephemeral. But, it was not meant to be. Envious stares silently occupied the moments preceding the onslaught…a horde of ravenous bottle-craving cranes descended upon him. The victor of the ensuing contest took flight and landed across the street where, apparently, plastic bottles were of little interest. He dropped the bottle, jabbed at it a few times, and casually walked back across the road to rejoin the flock. Take home points?  Common everyday items can, at times, elicit remarkable, albeit brief, interest. This is particularly true if another bird reacts to, or expresses interest in, said items.

So if you don’t want a crane to take your stuff, pretend you don’t care about it.

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  1. eugenia (aka CraneWatcher) November 6, 2015 7:00 pm

    Really, really enjoyed this FJ entry, Jeff. If only there was a video of the water bottle ‘experience’…..

  2. Warrenwesternpa November 6, 2015 6:44 pm

    Fox Follow-up Jeff Fox

    Toddlers and Wildlife play goes on around us continuously when we watch for it. There are great videos of eagles passing food to their young in flight. Watch for rabbits playing in a cool summer evening about dusk. Airborne crows jostling for a certain tree branch. Squirrels running single file through the trees in a straight line, sometimes seeming to race to a distant walnut or oak ot chestnut. I loved your noticing the Sandhills attention span. Sometimes so common among us all. Thanks Jeff. Very enjoyable entry!

  3. Sara November 6, 2015 9:09 am

    I wish someone would publish a book with field journal entries and photos that have been used on your web site all these years. It would be a wonderful book for all of us who have shared this amazing experience for years on our computers every day reading about these birds and your wonderful work.. I have been lucky a few times to see them here in southern Indiana and twice flying with the planes.

  4. Lindi Allen November 6, 2015 8:28 am

    Thanks for the stories I loved them, would have been great to see all this happening as you did.

  5. Ruth Mitchell November 6, 2015 8:22 am

    The Cranes with the Water Bottle remind me of a room full of toddlers…’If YOU have it, then it is something I want more than anything in the entire world!!!” lol

  6. Dora Giles November 6, 2015 8:20 am

    Very interesting reading and can tell you really love these beautful creatures. Thank you for joining OM and crew. Cant wait for your next report.


  7. Margie Tomlinson November 6, 2015 7:49 am

    So now we have TWO literary artists in are midst! Very delightful stories, Jeff! Thank you for sharing them with us, and “Welcome Aboard”!

  8. Donna and Chet Thomas November 6, 2015 7:41 am

    This morning at 7:15am we saw/heard a single whooping crane overhead (we live between Oregon and Belleville WI), heading south, calling plaintively. This was the second time this year we’ve been treated to the sight of a whooper “just flyin’ by” (previous time was early summer near Verona–whooper in company of two sandhills). A thrilling sight. You guys have made this possible. THANK YOU! May the day come when such sightings are common place.