Good Enough to Melt the World’s Heart

Another month has been torn off the calendar.  Before long we’ll be in fall wondering where the hell the year went.  Of course, that is when the stress levels will start sky rocketing as that also means the annual Halloween Haunted Trail will be looming and my longtime readers know how crazy that time gets.  The good news is we are once again making a break for the soul healing abilities of nature’s outdoors. With our state park campgrounds finally open we were able to load up the RV and head up to Chain O’ Lakes for some relaxation, hiking, running, biking and of course BIRDING!  Unfortunately, we missed most of the migration season, but hopefully Ron and I can still get some Sandhill Cranes in the tin.  While trying to decide on what to feature in today’s post, I was thinking about the world as a whole – corvid, senseless rioting, cratering economy, worthless politicians, hypocrite professional athletes and propagandists masquerading as journalists.  Then I remembered this weekend was about tuning out (an interesting concept as I sit her and make a post) and dispensing with the pent-up stress.  Then it occurred to me – the perfect post was sitting in my queue already.

Sandhill Crane Family shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017\

What the world needs is a little cuteness to melt the angst right out of its heart.  Personally, I can’t think of many things that would fit that objective better than a Sandhill Crane Colt.  I am pretty sure if we borrowed a few Colts from their parents and simply walked them out between two parties in any type of conflict, the problem would be immediately resolved.  Granted, we would immediately have to get the Colts back to their parents, but I am hoping they would be willing to help out with humanities current myriad of crises.

Sandhill Crane Family shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

Hit the jump and prepare to emit a giant awwwwwweeeee!

I can imagine how it would go down.  “Where’s your mask heathen!?!, I don’t need a mask I’m outside you Nazi, It’s my air too you inconsiderate bastard, That does it, I’m going to kic…. hey, is that a Sandhill Crane Colt.  How cuuuuuuute, all fuzzy and cuddly.  Ahhhh, how about I put on my mask and we can just hug this thing out and then go back to our 6′ social distancing sans masks.

Sandhill Crane Family shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

Of course, we may be too far gone as a society to actually find middle ground so chances are even something this adorable will be unable to overcome the hyper-polarization that society has transformed into.  We can always dream and of course, I will always have the memories of seeing these two little ones running carefree through the tall grass.  Check that, the actual memories may fade as the years tick by, however, that’s where this little adventure on the Internet will come in very handy.

Sandhill Crane Family shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

So, a little background on our fuzzballs.  These Colt specimens were spotted on our trip to the Chain O’ Lakes State Park back in June 2017.  Raven had an agility show at the time which kept Linda occupied for the entire day.  Called up Ron and made plans to spend the day checking out the local wildlife.  Early in our day we came across these two Colts frolicking alongside their parents.  Unfortunately, under some dense trees on an overcast day requiring some major ISO blasting – apologies for the grain.  The weather conditions and the fact my camera’s sensor absolutely struggles with the fur like feathering on these creatures left some room for improvement on the shots – a sad attempt at deflecting blame away from the dude with the finger that pressed the shutter button.

Sandhill Crane Family shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

These shots are actually part of a much bigger series more focused on the interaction witnessed between the Sandhill Crane parents and their offspring – wildlife behavior is the real essence of my mission out in the field.  Although it is a key point in my birding/photography talks I probably do not cover it directly often enough here – although I do try to introduce a few tidbits here and there in the interesting facts when I add a new bird to the list.  I am still working up the larger behavior post on these Sandhills, however, I went ahead and release these shots early.. to help save the world ha… and if a shot of one Colt dancing like no one is watching doesn’t calm our nerves, surely TWO Colts doing the chicken dance will certainly do the trick.

Sandhill Crane Family shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

In closing, a bit of confession/correction here.  I’ve made numerous posts on the spoils from our Chain outings.  On some of them I refer to how convenient Chain is for Ron and I as it is located between our homes.  This topic came up again tonight as we planned the start time for our morning birding.  I added time for him as he recently moved further away (closer to the motherland – Chicago) only to have him state “it takes less time”.  I hate algebra, but Ron’s a certified math genius – as I say, with my parent’s third the brains gene got mixed up so they named me Brian.  So for him if b=park location, a=my house, c=Ron’s original house and d=Ron’s new house location (directly further away), then total distance (assuming point coordinate transformations increasing in northerly direction) = b-a + c-b + d-c = b-b + c-c + d-a = d-a.  This is where I mic drop – showed my work and all – grade school math teaching nun would be slapping that giant gold start across my page.  Ron responded something to the effect – “I know you suck at geography, but do you EVER look at a map!?!”  Linda overhead our conversation and added commentary – “we are north of Ron’s house you moron.”  Oh, well umm hey, have you seen my shots of the Sandhill Crane Colts?


8 thoughts on “Good Enough to Melt the World’s Heart”

    1. Thanks Anne! I’ve been getting a bit caught up in all the hysteria and decided it was time to mellow out and give the soul some healing cuteness. Thanks for dropping by!

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  1. My first sighting of a Sandhill colt was visiting Illinois a few years ago. It was a bit older and looked much more awkward at the time! I had the thought “how do they fit those long legs in their egg???!!” Nice photos and I enjoyed the narrative. William — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104 The Message

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    1. I must say, the legs in the eggs (think you have a making of Dr. Suess book there) is still a mystery to me as I have yet to come across a Sandhill Crane egg as personal validation – I envision a oval top and then two large protrusion at the bottom for the legs ha! Appreciate you stopping by and sharing William.

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  2. Ha! For the record I never said, of course, that statement about you and maps! I am in fact the most directionally challenged person I know, including you. I did say that we were up near the Wisconsin border, and in fact that when we climbed up Gander Mountain (the place not the store) we could see Wisconsin from the top, and I don’t live close to Wisconsin. Chain O’ Lakes State Park is between us in the east-west direction, just not in the north-south direction. And now I live further north so I’m closer yet to it.

    So we did find the pair of Sandhill Cranes at Chain O’ Lakes yesterday, but no colts. You said the the ranger figured the heavy rains and floods probably washed out all the Sandhill Crane nests. But we spent quite a while taking shots of the band on the legs of the female from all angles so we can decipher the number and I can finally get a certificate for reporting it! I know you have two or three certificates for reporting a hummingbird, etc.

    It was a fun and beautiful day at Chain O’ Lakes! High in the mid-70s, a light breeze, 0% chance of rain, and low humidity. Virtually no mosquitoes, which was a relief after being drenched all spring. I think the highlight was photographing the Yellow Warbler at its nest you found, something I wish I had spent more time doing to get better pictures.

    Nice, cute pics of the Sandhill Crane colts!


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    1. Yep, sad about the colts, I was going to mention that in my follow on behavior post – I was a bit concerned that the egg issue impacted all the birds in the area, but I did see 8 a baby Wood Ducks on my run on the trails up there so looks like at least a few of them made it through – course, they next in trees, so that is a definite advantage. Will be interesting to see if you got all the required angles to get the full number … and to see if those are the same pair that we photographed back in 2017 (actually the parents of the colts above). Ugh, I forgot you wanted to go back and get better pictures of the nesting Yellow Warbler in better light. Went went right by them again at the end and it didn’t even occur to me – that light was much better then as well – sorry about that. Definitely a great day to be birding – already turned hot again here. Thanks for going out into the field with me.


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