Shhhh! Keep the Noise Down

It is impossible to be quiet when moving through the marsh. With every step you’re brushing again dried grasses or cattails and splodging (Thanks Sheba!) through knee-deep water. 

Hey, that’s probably why cranes are smart and build their nests in marsh areas! They can hear potential predators approaching…

Yesterday Joe and I tried to sneak out to install a trailcam on nest BP01N. We could see the adult on the nest and as we approached she flushed. 

Note the Sandhill crane leaving the nest as Joe approaches. Photo: H. Ray (Click to enlarge)

We can only do this early in the morning but not on really cool days. Eggs exposed to cool conditions won’t be viable for long. Alternatively, if it’s too warm, exposed eggs could cook so we must check conditions and make the call.

Once the call is made, we move in, line up the trailcam/mounting post, which has been camouflaged with grasses… Push that into the ground so that it faces north (less sunlight/glare), take a photo of the setup then retreat as quickly as possible. Yesterday’s time was 3 minutes – a new record!

Here’s a photo showing the camera/nest with 2 eggs on it. 

The camera is placed approx. 15 ft. away from the nest. Photo: H. Ray

This Sandhill returned after only 13 minutes – Whew!

And here’s a photo from the Trail Camera which was placed on nest JD02N. Thanks to these images captured every 5 minutes we can tell you their first chick hatched in the late afternoon hours of May 6th and their second chick hatched on May 8th. 

Mom and Dad Sandhill are close to the nest where a spindly chick is stretching. (click photo to enlarge)

We’ve not yet captured either of these wiley chicks but we do know the field they’re in with Mom and Dad and are monitoring in hopes of radio tagging them soon.

HUGE THANKS to everyone who has contributed to our work. Whether financially or by purchasing one (or more) of the items on our Amazon Wish List, your support means the world to us. 

If you’ve not yet made a contribution, we hope you’ll consider making one today. 

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  1. Susan O’Connell May 15, 2018 12:01 pm

    Most birds would angrily defend their nests with the exception of some like the Killdeer who feign injury to lure predator away from nest. Are cranes trying to lure away from the nest or are they just poor defenders?

    • Heather Ray May 15, 2018 12:53 pm

      Last week I had an adult try to lure me away from the nest. As for the poor defender question, that is something we’re trying to answer.
      They do always return to the nest/chick once we have moved away.

  2. Marje /Sheba May 15, 2018 9:54 am

    Splodgiing in the clarets would be better but so pleased to have added to your vocabulary,

    • Heather Ray May 15, 2018 11:42 am

      clarets… I’ll have to look that one up!