Friday, July 27, 2012

Sandhill Cranes never looked so good.

The highway north-west of Sudbury.

It was holiday time this past week. The family and I headed up to Rachel's parents place on Manitoulin Island. There's always lots of birds there and her dad Tim is a bird lover so he has nest boxes and feeders set up. He gets lots in his yard. Surrounding the garden we get all our vegetables from are nesting Eastern Bluebirds in boxes he built. There are tonnes of American Redstarts, Common Yellowthroats, Chipping Sparrows and so many more. I had really nice views of a pair of Pileated  Woodpeckers from the deck of the hunt camp off in the woods the other side of the 100 acres Wednesday morning.

Swing bridge at Little Current.

The best sightings were some Sandhill Cranes. They are always on the island when we go there. Mostly with young but not this pair. There was nothing special about these two birds other than their usual awesomeness. The big thing was that Rach was getting some much needed afternoon shut-eye and I was birding with the twins. This time was different. They are 4 and a half now and though that doesn't seem so much older than four. When your talking about physical dexterity and binocular use specifically, 4 vs. 4.5 is the difference between fumbling idiot and normal human.

Rainbow Trout I caught.

With their new found ability to locate birds with bins, came a renewed interest, at least for Shep, in birds. 
I was super excited when I had him look through and said, "See the big hay stack? (Yes.) Ok, move down until you see the green grass. (I see it.) Now move left just a bit. It was beyond cool when he screamed, "I see it!" His excitement was too genuine to be shitting me, plus he's 4.5 yrs. old and isn't a great bullshitter yet.

Georgia spots the Cranes.

Then I said, "Ok, tell me what colours you see."
"Red... and brown."
"What's red?" I asked.
"On his head." replied Shep.
"And it's body?", I questioned.
"Brown?" he said, unsure.
Then the coolest question of all. "What is it dad?"
"Well, let's remember what it looked like and we can look on my phone." I said.

Shep gets them too.

We had decided it was a Sandhill Crane. Later that evening, we drew a picture of it together. For shits and giggles we added the bluebirds we had been seeing and he also wanted to add the yellow one that flew past. American Goldfinch was what our field-guide told us. The next morning, Georgia drew a crane too.

Shep's Sandhill Crane with blue lightening bolt.
Georgia's Sandhill Crane with flowers.

So awesome.

Punk Rock Big Year
Paul Riss 


  1. Bless ya, dude -- you're a good dad :~)))

  2. Woah! That's a boss fish; you all will feast for days. Also, everything else that is fantastic about this post. Sandhill Cranes have got to be one of the best birds to really cut one's teeth on, and now Punk Rock Birder Jr. has already moved on to bird art! One of the highest forms of bird nerdery.

    Awesome Chris, thanks for sharing.

  3. Great post Paul. So glad you are grooming some young'uns to carry on the birding tradition. lol Sounds like a most relaxing vacation! Hey ho, let's go!!!

  4. It was lots of fun up there Kathie. One of them will be a birder if it kills me...