You Be the Judge…

The definition of anthropomorphize is to ascribe human features to something. Am I doing it? I’ll report the facts then you tell me.

Tuesday, October 25 was the last day our target pair of adult whooping cranes came to visit the crane colts. For 20 days no adult whoopers, then Tuesday the 15th of November 24 & 42-09 came back to our field.

Since returning, they have stuck with the chicks more than ever before. Sometimes all four fly together. Sometimes the chicks take off and the adults eventually follow. Sometimes the adults go and the chicks follow… eventually.

Thursday 24 & 42-09 went to the wetland in the chicks cranberry bog, for the first time ever. The chicks did not follow. The adults eventually went to the chicks in the dry cranberry bed.

#29-16’s GSM hits showed the chicks spent at least part of Thursday night with the adults about 3 miles away in the adults normal roost spot. Wow!! But the chicks flew back to their dry cranberry bed in the middle of the night. Sigh.

Friday around noon all four birds took off. The colts landed in their favorite dry cranberry bed whereas the adults went to the wetland next to it. I sighed again. If you read Brooke’s recent post you know how important water is for roosting. Then 15 minutes later as I watched the chicks took off did a little circling and instead of landing in the favorite corner of the harvested corn field they landed next to 24 & 42 in the wetland! Eeeeeeeee!

I stayed till almost dark – watching them till around 2, then I left the bog and listened to beeps from the road as I didn’t want to flush birds in the 30-40 mph winds as darkness approached. They were still together and in the wetland when I left late yesterday.

Adult Whoopers 24 & 42-09, roost alongside parent reared colts 29 & 39-16 in Adams County, WI. Photo: C. Chase

Adult Whoopers 24 & 42-09, roost alongside parent reared colts 29 & 39-16 in Adams County, WI. Photo: C. Chase

As I drove here this morning I was antsy-er than usual. Were they still together? In the wetland? Did they go flying in the dark in the wind? Were they on the corn field in this wind and snow??

Nope, they were in the wetland with the adult whoopers and a gazillion Sandhills!! Around 7 am they all took off. Adults went to their territory and chicks landed in their favorite corner of harvested corn. Since, they have gone a bit farther than usual in their morning explorations. It’s now 9 am. The chicks are alone in the corn field.

So, did the adults do their best to teach Mutt and Jeff about roosting in water? Interesting that this lesson happened just as the weather got really nasty, isn’t it? Did they think “Even if those brats won’t follow us, maybe we can teach them to get their fluffy butts in water with other birds before the storm”? It looks that way to me…

I keep remembering 5-12 who came back to the St. Marks pensite three times for the class of 2014. The class that had the 600 mile gap of knowledge in the migration route. There is no doubt he talked them into going north with him. Each time he came back to St Marks he would cry and call and whine.

So, anthropomorphizing or not? You tell me…

This is going to be an interesting weekend. I so hope it’s got a happy ending.

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  1. Angel November 20, 2016 6:32 am

    Children learn to care for others from pets. Anyone with me and it is more likely that most anthropomorphizing has from beginning history always worked from animals to humans, not the other way round. We mimic the best of animal actions and then claim as only ours.

    I know the meaning of the word, pretending animals can act and feel as humans. I think we have plenty of recent proof that humans would do well to wish we could copy more from animals.

  2. Catherine Wohlfeil November 19, 2016 10:35 pm

    I propose a new word – cranopomorphizing – humans being sensitized by the crane spirit of noble cooperation and depth of compassion and love, working together for the common good of the “flock”.

  3. Jean P. aka CrabtowneMd November 19, 2016 7:26 pm

    Tis nice to hear that they finally roosted in water. Here’s hoping the winds abate a bit in strength and encourage all 4 whoopers to head south tomorrow !
    Thank you for the picture with the weather closing in.

  4. Laurine Grant November 19, 2016 5:36 pm

    Waiting with baited breath!!!!! Wish I could be there.

  5. Sally Swanson November 19, 2016 2:00 pm

    I’m with Richard! I can’t pronounce the word either! It has to be frustrating when they aren’t doing what we think they ought to be doing! Maybe tomorrow! You just have to hope they are listening to Mother Nature!


  6. Mindy November 19, 2016 1:20 pm

    Yes, I don’t care what people have labeled what I feel, I believe 5-12 came back for the 2014 colts on purpose and with a purpose and I believe 1-15 purposed with intelligent thought to keep the flock in line behind Joe, while communicating with her flockmates in the air last year. And I believe that 24 and 42-09 tried intentionally and with purpose, to teach these two youngsters what they should do. I believe they deserve way more credit for their actions than they ever get from most humans….Thank you Colleen for the report and insight. You are right on target. Thank you for the pictures, for your dedicated observation and all you do for Whoopers….

  7. Richard P. Chase November 19, 2016 11:38 am

    anthropomorphizing – very interesting word since I’m still trying to pronounce it! I would think that, after all of this time, your mental pleas have FINALLY started communicating with the youngsters.

    I can only hope that they are “getting the message” from whomever is speaking the loudest. Come on home dearie, we’re all waiting!

  8. Patricia wenzel November 19, 2016 11:05 am

    Seems to me we have learned in recent years that animals are 1) smarter and 2) more “caring” than was believed in the not so distant past. Short answer to your question: not anthropomorphizing.