Family feud at Sandhill Crane gathering

At the end of the story, the Sandhill Cranes are all getting along fine and back to eating. That’s also how the story started … but there was a little incident along the way.

Sandhill Crane, Saskatchewan field, eat

Another peaceful family scene.

To set the scene, think about attending a really large family gathering with some strong personalities. People showed up you may not have seen in a while and if you were honest, hadn’t missed.

For the Sandhill Cranes, the perfect spot this week was a freshly combined wheat field near my home for family dinner. There was lots of food, lots of chatter and lots of hugs from members flying in from all over.

I was the uninvited guest watching through my lens and waiting for the inevitable family dysfunction.

It all went smooth for a surprisingly long time. Then Cousin Hank took issue with Uncle Duckworth’s aggressive behavior in the after-dinner games. Suddenly tempers flared, everyone yelled, and before you knew it, someone got kicked.

I looked up from the camera thinking, Did I just get photos of that altercation? I scrolled through the images on my camera and smiled. Here’s what I saw …

Sandhill Crane, Saskatchewan, fight, field

The dispute began though no one quite remembers why.

Sandhill Crane, Saskatchewan, fight, field

Inevitably, other cranes took sides.

Sandhill Crane, Saskatchewan, fight, field

The crane on the right seemed to enjoy the action.

Sandhill Crane, Saskatchewan, fight, field

The action intensified and got louder.

That brought other relatives who didn’t want to miss out on gossip potential.

Sandhill Crane, Saskatchewan, fight, field

Then it got physical.

Sandhill Crane, Saskatchewan, fight, field


A clear victor emerged.

And just like that it was over and forgotten … until the next family gathering.

Latest Comments

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  2. rprtphoto says:

    You got some great gestures here Lyle. Congrats! 🙂

    RPRT Photo


  3. Scott Marshall says:

    This is a cracking set which I thought I had placed alike upon already turn out I haven’t the reader is very inconsistent in that respect.


  4. Where Is Lori Now says:

    Great storie line. I couldn’t help but giggle about how family reunions can turn out like that. Really enjoyed the details in your photos. The golden wheat makes the perfect backdrop for this scene. Cranes are very cool! I’ve never captured (with my camera of course) a crane in the wild yet, only at the zoo (which in my book is bit like cheating). Great shots here. Great accompanying storie too! Appreciate your sharing it with us! –Lori


  5. drawandshoot says:

    Incredible set of images!


  6. MikeW says:

    Hmm. Maybe this is the reason for the crane in cranky? Maybe I’ve just had my head buried in a sandhill, naively thinking these birds were always civil!

    Thanks for the incredibly clear study of this small group in the field. Here it is Fall, they’re preparing for Winter, and someone must have stepped out of line.


  7. artsifrtsy says:

    Wow – what a great set of images! Great set!


  8. caleephotography says:

    LOL! I really like that the one to the right is watching with a big grin on his face 😉 Great series, Lyle!!


  9. melodylowes says:

    So even bird-brained families get grouchy once in a while…good to know. Even better that you captured it for posterity, so the cranes can’t come back with an ‘It never happened’ press release. Loved it! It gets the blood pumping to realize you are in on a phenomenon that usually only bird eyes will see! Photographer’s dream, yes?


    • lylekrahn says:

      Absolutely. I was quite excited when I realized I got it and it still brings a smile to my face. And yes I have the evidence they can’t refute! Thanks for the comments Melody.


  10. Phil Lanoue says:

    Same here. Fussy, cranky weekend for the birds I guess. 😮


  11. Phil Lanoue says:

    Great series! Excellent captures showing these cranes behavior! Well done!


  12. hannele says:

    hehe, well captured and captioned! thanks for sharing this 🙂


  13. Mind Margins/Run Nature says:

    Great photos. Looks like some of the student fights I’ve observed at school, where everyone runs over to check out the commotion.


  14. westerner54 says:

    Holy cow. The photo of the group strutting over to get into the action is perfect; it adds such good contrast. And yes, it is pretty much like many family gatherings I’ve known!


  15. vanbraman says:

    Nice commentary.


  16. Cornel A. says:

    Great photos. I love cranes. 🙂 Amazing birds.

    Lovely scenery.


  17. Delft says:

    Looks like a mine’s-bigger-than-yours squabble between two males.
    It’s amazing how big those wings are, isn’t it?


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