Saturday started out nice. I took one of our Board of Directors, John Gerend out to the pen. He had done a couple of migrations with us and loves working with the birds. 

The mean guys, number’s 3,4,1 and 7: (listed in order of intent to kill) were sweet and mellow today. Nice!

I let the chicks out after John went to the blind to watch flight training with Doug, Heather and Jo-Anne. The chicks were all waiting at the door, out they came! They we’re bouncy, I ran gave a couple of flaps and off they went! Good start, nice! I am not sure of the time of that flight but, not long, they have done better. 

So, we went up the runway, I’d run. They would run. I flap and run. They would flap and run but not fly.

Colleen encouraging the cranes to fly. Photo: H. Ray

There was not much breeze and it was humid. I figured one more try to the North end and if they did not fly I’d give up and we’d walk to the pond. 

I ran, flapped a time or two. They bit and off they went! For 4 minutes 42 seconds! Yay! Nice!

When they landed we wandered to the pond, I let them get ahead of me. They went into the pond. I hid. 15 minutes later five of them found me. Two of them stayed in the pond. Nice! 

I walked the five to the right side beach. They went in, I hid. For an hour and a half! Way Nice!

The cranes explore the marsh while Colleen hides behind the brush.

Then, they got out and took off. It was pretty much the usual time. I let Doug (still hiding in the blind) and Cathy (driving the CraneCam) know that the birds were on their way back. 

I got a text back from Doug saying they were out over the marsh. Way out. Oh my! 

By now I was out of my blind and on the path between the 2 ponds. I could see them, I don’t think he or Cathy could. Then they would get a glimpse, and I would lose them, I would see them way to the North East then lose sight. For 8 minutes they flew. Both Brooke and Joe, each in their own way, have reassured me they come back. So, I did not wet my pants, Nice!

Finally, they started in our direction and soon landed around me. While they rearranged their feathers I turned and checked text times so I could tell how long they flew. 8 minutes! Beyond NICE! Woot!

We slowly wandered back towards the pen. They were in forage mode. A flurry of excitement! #3 had a snake. #7 took it. #8 got into the tug of war. Grabbed it and ran! Then that dainty, tiny girl snarfed it down like I do a bag of Cheetos! Nice! Way to go 8!!

the remaining few inches of a garter snake going down the hatch of #8-17.

Totally nice day. Everyone deserves one once in a while. I’m really grateful for this one.

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  1. Susanne Shrader August 28, 2017 8:25 pm

    You all deserve a banner day like this.

  2. lilbirdz August 28, 2017 12:03 pm

    Colleen, you are a hardy soul to slog around marshes for all that time, counting burds, and wondering what the missing ones are doing. You even managed a great picture of #8 getting the snake. Thanks for all that you and Team OM do for the cranes and for us.

  3. Barb August 28, 2017 7:18 am

    It does sound like you had great day. What determines when they will be released in the wild? Maturity, harder to get them back to the pen, their ability to fly for a preset amount if time, adults starting to migrate???? Thanks.

    • Heather Ray August 28, 2017 9:45 am

      All of the above.