Last Wednesday I saw a sandhill crane family in the field behind my house. There were 2 adults, and 2 chicks. The chicks seemed bigger than they should be, and weren’t the round, fuzzy, fluff balls that I expected. They still have their yellow brown baby color and are very small. Sandhills usually lay 2 eggs, and it seems like one of them is dispensable. Either they lose the egg before it hatches, or they hatch both chicks, but one dies or is lost to predators. Last year I had a similar sighting, a family with 2 chicks. They lost one of the chicks at some point, and only raised one. We saw the family of 3 all summer and fall, until they migrated. I’m pretty sure the 3 cranes I saw in the early spring this year were the same family. I hope the little family of 4 stays intact, but I know that’s a big expectation and not likely to happen. Lee’s been planting soybeans in their favorite field, so I haven’t seen them for a couple of days.
Update on July 5: Both baby cranes are alive and well. They’re nearly as tall as their parents, have all of their feathers instead of fluffy down, and they look great.