Nature Blog Network

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015.4 First lessons in Arrow's education - Dodging dangers

2015.4 - First lessons in colt education - Dodging dangers

There are many potential predators in the neighborhood, including ravens and foxes, as the Alaska Sandhill Crane family forages and explores.

Arrow, the colt hatched a few weeks ago, is encouraged to be vigilant at all times, to stay close to her protective parents, to "flee and hide" when both parents go off to confront a threat, and to watch studiously when the parents make counter-threat displays.

2015.3 First lessons in Arrow's education - Fitness and Foraging

2015.3 - First lessons in colt education - Fitness and Foraging

As a newly-hatched crane colt, Arrow hops, trundles, bumbles, and stumbles after Millie and Roy who hike all day, round and round the nest pond, setting off for excursions into the woods, and even swimming across small channels of the pond. All of this activity helps build the physical fitness that will be needed for foraging, running, dancing, and flying.

The video below shows Arrow followinfg close after MIllie and Roy and being introduced to tasty morsels of seeds, berries, roots, insect larvae and flying insects, and even strips of vole flesh after Roy has skillfully butchered a vole that he hunted.

Hard foods must be macerated, and this takes grinding in the gizzard. To fill Arrow's gizzard with gravel, Millie and Roy bring her to a parking lot where they all feast on gravel while the wary parents keep watch.
from Christy Yuncker Happ on Vimeo.

2015.2 Millie and Roy incubate on the frozen marsh

2015.2 - Incubation month

On May 5, Millie and Roy began incubation on a nest they sited on frozen marshland across the pond. Three days after they started nesting, a pair of intruder cranes landed on the west bog. Millie and Roy summarily and loudly routed the interlopers and chased them into the valley.

The video below shows some events over the 32 days as Millie and Roy rotated incubation shifts. Roy incubated during the day, and Millie usually took the longer night shift.

The eggs are expected to take 30 days to hatch, but this year we saw no colt until June 6, 32 days after incubation had started. We suspect that the 2015 single colt, whom we named "Arrow", was hatched from the second egg.

2015.2 - Alaska Sandhill Cranes nest and incubate on the frozen marsh from Christy Yuncker Happ on Vimeo.