Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Popular Couple in the Wetlands

Down here south of the Twin Cities we are lucky enough to have great birding areas close by. A short 10 minute drive from my house is an area of the Minnesota River Valley is the Old Cedar Bridge, a really popular location with birders, bikers and hikers. Recent improvements make the site a real birding destination.

A pair of Sandhill Cranes must have the same opinion because they have chosen a spot just off the end of the wildlife observation deck to set up a nest. These are, I believe, the most photographed Sandhills in the area if not the state. You can see a continual parade of photographers with tripods and cameras sporting long lens going to and from the observation deck.

I am no exception.

It was almost too easy to get some really nice photos and to watch the pair of cranes feed, work a bit on the nest and interact with each other.
The individual not incubating spends most of their time in the tall grasses, out of sight. The only time they are visible is as they walk to or away from the nest.
We got to see the birds switch places later in the evening and as they did one of the birds did a little maintenance by grabbing lengths of cattail stems and placing them around the edge of the nest.
Once the switch was made the bird on the nest settled in and spent most of the time ignoring the dozen or so people on the observation deck.
The second bird made a beeline to the tall grasses to the east of the nest and disappeared. What a wonderful opportunity to get to see these impressive birds so close to home.

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