When you live in central Florida, you have a first row seat to some of the most amazing nature shows. One of my favorites is the highly entertaining mating dance of the sandhill crane, or what I refer to as the “Sandhill Crane Courtship Dance”. The birds often provide their own music (insert loud squawking noises) and the moves include ducking, bowing, jumping, running and some impressive outstretched wing movements. All of their choreography has a fluid, graceful quality that brings to mind Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and led me to name these two lovebirds, Fred and Ginger. The larger crane, I’m assuming is the male, has a distinct marking on its eye (shown in the last picture in this blog). Since sandhills mate for life, this is a love story worth celebrating.
To see all my sandhill crane photos, for sale on Fine Art America and Pixels, HERE.
I’ve created a slideshow of the latest sandhill dance. To see it, click HERE.
My nature photos are available on greeting cards, home decor products and art prints. To see all of my artwork, check out my website: Carol Groenen Photography
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I recently purchased an awesome new bird feeder system and it has sparked memories of my childhood. It calls to mind my parents saying, “You can have a pet, but you will have to take care of it.” Maintaining feeders is actually a big responsibility and one I don’t take lightly. I know that with our hot weather and humidity here in Florida, the feeders will have to be cleaned regularly and water refreshed often. Thankfully, my husband has agreed to help me out (like my parents eventually did) and will maintain the feeders when I’m not at home. It’s fun to share this hobby and we feel good about helping out the birds.
One of my favorite games when I was a kid was Hide and Seek. That’s the game I now play with the birds at my feeder. Cardinals are especially skittish and will not land if I’m sitting too close or am out in the open. Yesterday, I “hid” in the shadow of a ligustrum tree and it worked perfectly. Two times, large birds (a red-shouldered hawk and a great blue heron) flew right over my head and seemed surprised when they saw me! I almost yelled out, “Gotcha!” I think, if you can fool a hawk, you’ve done pretty well (patting myself on the back).
Another fun game that we played as kids was Musical Chairs. Birds love it too! There is a popular branch in a distant live oak tree where mockingbirds and woodpeckers give regular concerts. I call this the “songbird perch”. Another branch, located directly over a pond, is perfect for the birds of prey and they literally knock each other off for this prime viewpoint. Remember being knocked to the floor when the music stopped? Birds are about that gentle…
It was a beautiful birding day in Florida yesterday. I did have work to do, but decided to “play hooky” instead. I followed two sandhill cranes around the pond, talked to my hummingbird, counted birds, listened to birdsongs and when the sun started to set I remembered a most vivid childhood memory; I heard my Mom’s voice, “You can stay out until it gets dark.” Time to say good-bye to my friends. Sigh.
To see my Bird photographs on Pixels, click HERE.
These pictures represent one great birding day in Florida:
Sandhill Cranes are highly entertaining birds. They are sociable, noisy and have a bit of an attitude, which is exactly why I like photographing them. Recently, hundreds of migrating sandhills dropped into a field near Richland, Washington, and I was lucky enough to be there to observe them (thanks to my birding friend, Lynn, for the tip-off). Oh, it seemed as if they had found the perfect location: a recently harvested farmer’s field with plenty of yummy grain, a lovely shallow pond for resting and all of this tucked into a secluded area, far from busy roads and people. On this day, chaos abounded as birds flew in left and right, some were landing gracefully, others not so much. Most meandered around the pond and fields with a sort of lackadaisical, no-rush rhythm. You wouldn’t have guessed they still had places to go and more migrating to do. There was so much to see, over such a large area that at first I wasn’t sure where to focus. But after a while, I honed in on a gang of “tough guys” – the ones making the most raucous. I thought to myself, this is where the real story is – ruffians trying to make their way in the world. It was just like a scene out of West Side Story and it was simply amazing to watch. Their songs weren’t accompanied by clicking fingers, and frankly weren’t all that melodious, but the drama was the same. Their songs were more racket and cacophony. Still, music to my ears.
Check out my YouTube Video: Richland Sandhill Cranes
Check out my photos on Pixels.com: Sandhill Cranes Collection
Check out the calls of the Sandhill Cranes in my video: Noisy, Flying Sandhill Cranes
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