When a Whooping Crane pretends it’s a Sandhill Crane, the only thing that makes sense is those famous lyrics from the Sesame Street song:
One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong here …
The surreal scene began with me standing in the ditch at the side of a grid road a few kilometres from home. Beyond the barbed wire fence, a large stubble field stretched out before me that was occupied by snacking Sandhill Cranes and geese.
After photographing the birds feeding in the stubble, waves of sandhills starting flying into the field. I would hear them in the distance and line up my camera as they got within range.
Suddenly I saw a huge white bird flying in among the next wave as though it was just part of the gang. This wasn’t exactly a seamless camouflage. In fact, I don’t know of any bird that could stick out more glaringly. A Sandhill Crane is an impressive size but quickly gets dwarfed by the Whooping Crane’s impressive proportions. The stark black and white feathers only amplified the contrast.
Despite the comical-like differences, the Whooping Crane flew, walked, ate and wandered around as though it was just a part of the sandhill gang.
I had to admire the chutzpah. Apparently it was just believing something to make it seem like it was true. Maybe I’ll have to try that sometime.
Krahnpix note: I am still pinching myself that I had the opportunity to photograph one of the rarest birds in North America- there are less than 500 Whooping Cranes in the wild. This may have been a younger bird that got separated from the rest that migrate over a good portion of North America. The route just happens to cross over Saskatchewan.