Nature Blog Network

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Crane parents compensate for colt's injury

---For photos on the Christy Yuncker Photo Journal webpage, click here.

Each colt is an individual. If a colt is injured, adults can compensate and delay their migration - apparently waiting for the colt to become flight-competent. We saw such compensation in 2008.

By 18 days of age, Oblio-08 was running
about waving her tiny wings in tandem with Roy (pictured to the right). But in early July, she began to favor her right leg, suggesting an injury. Although she continued to grow, she was physically hampered. For some weeks Oblio rarely ran and did not dance, jump or bound.  Roy and Millie postponed the basics of colt education and physical conditioning an tarried in Alaska to give her a chance to catch up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The origins of the Alaska Sandhill Crane blog

This blog and the complementary webpage, Christy Yuncker Photo Journal, developed from our fascination with a pair of Sandhill Cranes who return each summer to Alaska. For the past several years, they have nested on a cranberry bog in Goldstream Valley, a few miles north of Fairbanks. Cranes are migratory, coming to Alaska only for the summer months. John Wright, a wildlife biologist for the state of Alaska, has tracked a banded crane from Fairbanks for 3100 miles, to stop-over sites on the Platte River in Nebraska and finally to a wintering site near Snyder, Texas.

We refer to our crane pair as Millie and Roy. Over 14 seasons, we have watched cranes arrive in late April/early May, court one another with calls and dances, mate and nest, feed and educate their colts (young cranes), communicate with neighboring cranes in the valley, and leave in early September for the long southward migration.