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Our Newest Neighbors

A sandhill crane feeds its chick in Florida

There are two new faces in our neighborhood, and they both have little yellow beaks and fluffy feathers. The golf course near our home has been closed for some time, and it has become home to a host of wild animals including about a dozen Sandhill Cranes, two of which recently hatched a couple young.

We first saw them crossing the road (no joke). When they reached the edge of the pavement the chicks struggled to climb over the five inch wall of cement to get onto the sidewalk. We wanted to help, but we knew we shouldn’t interfere, so we just watched while the parents nudged their young with their beaks, helping them to make it over the obstacle to safety.

A little sandhill crane

The next day we saw them again and I went to get my camera. As I photographed them, they moved away as I knew they would, and the adults positioned themselves closer to the chicks for protection. I couldn’t help but think what a strange world this must seem like to a young crane. There were giant creatures everywhere, cars rolling around on bizarre black strips of asphalt, and bipedal apes that always stopped and pointed.

Two sandhill crane chicks with a parent

But then it occurred to me that it’s probably no stranger to them than it is to human children. Whatever world a creature’s born into must seem totally normal since they’ve never known anything else. In fact, with technology changing everything around us so fast, by the time Dannie and I have children the world will probably seem stranger to us than it does to them. I just hope that we’ll have what it takes to keep them safe and help them make it through childhood healthy and happy. I took a picture of one of the adult cranes when it turned it’s head to keep an eye on me as the other helped the chicks find food. I knew they understood how I felt.

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