We are on a roll here at Life Intrigued – a Crane roll for clarification. I was going to vary it up a bit for this particular post, but the teeming millions of readers out there demanded that I stick with the International Crane Foundation shoot. Steady readers will recognize we are once again back in Baraboo, Wisconsin admiring the beautiful Cranes. This one happens to be even more ornate that rest.
This royal looking Crane, like the others this month, is making its debut on the blog. According to ICF’s website, this bird is referred to as a Black Crowned Crane. In a nod to the long time readers with an incredible attention to detail, you must might be thinking “Hey you ‘if you like your plan you can keep your plan period’ apprentice – that bird isn’t making its debut. You already have one of those from your visit to the Indianapolis Zoo.” Wow, that was harsh but unlike the reference, I was telling the truth.
A very similar Crane was posted previously on the blog back in Feb 2013 (link here). Although that bird had a similar palette around the face and definitely a match on the spiky head piece, that was actually a Grey Crowned Crane. Unless you saw these two birds together you probably wouldn’t be able to make the distinction, but as you can see in the shots of the Black Crowned Crane, the body is more … wait for it .. black. Those clever namers never cease to surprise me.
Hit the jump to read more about this royal bird!
Unfortunately, this particular bird was not housed in the fancy viewing habitats. It is the first bird you get to see so it does have that going for it it, but it is in a more traditional fence lined pen. This makes it a little difficult to fool the viewers into thinking you tracked them down in the wild. You can do it with a little effort (as you can see from the shots above), but eventually that all too familiar diamond shape makes its way into the frame.
Per a previous comment, this is another test of the cropping rules. This one was chopped above the knees to give a little close look at the bird’s features but still provide a perspective of the large body. Honestly, I don’t like this composition as much – looks too much like an ornate plastic flamingo stuck in someone’s yard with two steel rods.
Think my brother is right, cropping the legs out along with some of the body has a much more appealing feel to it as you might be able to tell yourself below. Of course, it would have been a hundred times better if I could have thrown that background out of focus more. The good news is you really can’t tell I was shooting through the same fence – the Beast does a good job of cutting through the tiniest of openings – which really only works when the subject you want is a ways away from the fence. There is an upcoming post that will very clearly show you what happens when the subject is right next to the fence.
Yikes, almost done with the post and I haven’t given you a single interesting fact about this cool bird. Bad Bri, very baaaad maaan.! So, the Black Crowned Crane numbers in the 40,000 range where the Gray counterpart is in the 30,000 range. The Black is a resident of Africa in the Sudan, Ethiopia, Sahel areas. Per the norm as of late they are given a Vulnerable Conservation Status and in decline. Wikipedia indicates that one of their threats is the taking for the pet market. Similar to the Gray Crane, they fall in the 3 foot height range. ICF states they are in the 8 pound range and once again relying on Wikipedia to inform me their wingspan is in the 6 foot range.
I will leave you with what I find is the most interesting fact about these particular Cranes. The Crowned Cranes are the only ones to perch in trees. This is due to their unique feature of having a long hind toe called a Hallux (which I just learned thanks to Google is commonly referred to as the Big Toe on humans) which gives them the ability to grasp. Good thing they aren’t housed with monkeys or they might learn to fling their poop at unsuspecting visitors. If I would have known this during the shoot I would have made the effort to get a picture of that feature. Next time I’m up there I’ll make sure there’s a reference in the tin.
Well, that’s it for the Black Crowned Crane – hope you enjoyed seeing and reading about this ornate species.