Just when I think the cranes have developed a routine they throw me a curve ball…
Since we officially declared them released and shut the pen doors they have rather predictably come off roost right around sunrise. They fly to a favorite field and about 2 minutes later, Henry aka #5-12 and 30-16 arrive. Shortly thereafter, 3 Sandhill cranes put in their appearance.
They all forage happily for a few hours then fly to a wetland on the other side of the Fox River for a while. Usually midday is spent in Henry’s Pond, then late in the afternoon back to the field for a snack before roost.
Until Saturday afternoon this was the way the days have been going…
At noon Saturday, I was in the pen parking lot getting such weak signals from the direction of Henry’s Pond that I thought several of them must have their transmitter antenna’s dunked in water. I listened for a long time in all directions. Six of the birds’ beeps were equally loud in three directions. I turned the gain down. I turned the volume up. They were equally loud in those same three directions.
It was sunny and in the 70s, and very windy. Interesting to note that the Omni antenna on my RV was only getting one channel also. Usually it gets 9.
After a good bit of driving here and there and listening, I found Henry, 30-16, and youngsters: 2, 3, 7 and 8 over in Henry’s old summer wetland! Cranes 1, 4 and 6 were still in Henry’s pond. This was the first time in weeks they split up! But, not the last.
By 3 pm they were all back at Henry’s Pond. At 3:45 pm cranes 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 flew to the favorite field for a before roost snack. Henry, 30-16 and #1-17 stayed at the pond.
Sunday their routine was back to normal. All together. All day.
So, we wait and wonder where these cranes will end up this winter. The suspense builds…