Sandhill Cranes Dancing

Some days you get really lucky. On my most recent trip out to the refuges, I stopped by Merced and ran into a small group of Sandhill Cranes in one of the ponds fairly close to the road. They took no notice of me, so I stopped to watch.

And then they danced.

Sandhill Cranes Dancing

There’s something incredible about seeing the Cranes dance. It’s an act of joy, part of the process of attracting a mate and building the bonds between a crane pair, and in watching them you can see the happiness in the way the birds move and carry themselves.

In this case, two of the cranes danced, both with each other and around one bird that seems to be a younger female. It was definitely a competition for her attention, with both birds posturing and jumping for height.

Sandhill Cranes Dancing

Sandhill Cranes Dancing

Now, I’m not a female crane, but the competition seemed a draw, and so I expect it’ll continue. But for a couple of minutes, I sat there entranced watching the show and marveling at these birds and how they choose their partners.

Fortunately, I remembered to take some pictures, too, although for a bit, I almost forgot.

Sandhill Cranes Dancing

You can click through the images to see the entire sequence, or what the slideshow below of all of the images from the trip to see the entire dance.