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What a change over the last three months!

Having been away in sunnier climes for the last few months, I am really impressed to see how much the cranes have changed. It is not just they're appearance, although Michael in particular sporting early adult head markings, is looking very impressive.

The behaviour has changed a lot as well, when I last saw them at the end of October they were still very naive and when feeding they would all be heads down, bums in the air without a care for any potential dangers that might be lurking out there for them. Now when I watch them feeding, it is a completely different story and there is always at least one head poking up to keep an eye out for danger.

With the break in the cold weather, the cranes are also starting to display some pseudo (they're still a bit young for the real thing), adult behaviour. Whilst we were observing them feeding on Aller moor, a tractor disturbed them and they flew up to a field where a group Bewick's swans were feeding. Once they had settled in the field a number of the birds began to dance, making for a rather lovely sight. Rather than courtship behaviour, this is far more likely to be related to hierachical struggles, as the birds are still young.

However a rather interesting incident soon followed, when one of the cranes "Minnie," (who else), discovered that Bewick's swans can be intimidated by cranes running at them with their wings stretched out! This was soon picked up on by a few of the other cranes and pandemonium followed for the next thirty seconds or so with cranes chasing swans, until all was forgotten and the two respective groups of birds settled down, behaving as if nothing had been happened at all. 

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Elly Wise
2 February, 2011 - 17:11
Elly Wise's picture

Great to see Minnie is still up to her old boisterous ways!

What did the Bewicks do in responce?

Miss them so much, Elly