Sunday, January 10, 2010
Following our sunrise visit to the pond, we all climbed back into the vans and headed back to the Bosque for a nice warm breakfast, New Mexican style. While eating we also saw some film on the various behavior and communication styles of Sandhill cranes. Shortly afterwards we headed out to one of the cornfields on the Bosque, and we were to watch the cranes to see how they reacted to possible threats or how they communicated with each other. This was really fun, because we saw how the male and female were always together. While one would eat, the other would stand guard as the photo below indicates.
Notice in this next photo one of the cranes is standing guard while the other three are eating. If you can enlarge this photo (by clicking on it), you will also notice the same behavior in the cranes farther out in the field.
This crane is in a very alert stance, and notice the red coloring on the front part of his head. We were told that this is a featherless part of their heads. And when these birds feel threatened in any way the red coloring deepens and possibly gets larger. This is a part of the cranes' behavior that is still being studied. But the "experts" realize that their heads turn quite red when they feel threatened.
Here is another photo of a group eating corn in the field. Notice there are four standing alert out of the dozen or so we see here.
While in the field I also took other photos that were not of cranes which I'll share in my next post.