Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday

The Blue Crane

This week I am focusing on the Blue Crane which is the national bird of South Africa.  Their range, as shone, is along the east side of South Africa and another small group that gathers in Northern Namibia.  The Blue Crane, unlike 13 species of wetland cranes, spend their time in the dry grasslands.  The short bill of this crane is an adaptation to its grassland habitat. They eat seeds, small bulbs, roots, insects and small animals.  They also feed on crops such as wheat, oats, sorghum and sunflower.  For this reason farmers who are trying to protect their crops have been poisoning them.  Farmers are also converting the grasslands into crops that are not compatible with the Blue Crane's needs.  The Blue Crane is dwindling in numbers even though they are revered by the people of South Africa..  ICF is currently working with a conservation group in South Africa to encourage stewardship of crane habitat and recommend various crane-friendly farming techniques to reduce crane crop damage.  The goal is for cranes and humans to find a way to co-exist on the land.

The story I have for you today is about Little Boy Blue, a male crane who resides in the International Crane Foundation's Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Boy Blue (we will call him that for the sake of brevity) had a mate, but they didn't seem genetically compatible and were not very successful in producing eggs or offspring.  So Blue's mate was crated up and sent to San Diago to be with another Blue Crane.   Boy Blue was distraught ... he called and he called.  He even started calling to the Blue Crane painting in his enclosed habitat.  Nothing would console him.
Finally a new mate was found for him.  Per protocol she was placed in a separation enclosure next to Boy Blue's enclosure.  There was instant communication between them.  They would stand at the section where they could see each other and talk and dance.  It was clear that Boy Blue and soon to be Mrs. Blue were thrilled to have found each other.  Normally they are kept separate for a long period of time until they are sure that there won't be aggression by one of the cranes.  In this case it was only a few days before they were ready to chance  the meeting ... and it was, just what they thought it was, Love at First Sight!  They danced and they danced ...  and they were still dancing when we came to see them.

Dancing ...

And Dancing ...
and conversation ... (Note, it is Mrs. Blue doing the talking :)
ahhh ... a response :)


As is often the case, Mrs. Blue seems to have gotten the last word :)   Clearly all is well with Mr. & Mrs.Blue Crane crane at ICF and their future as a breeding pair that will help guarantee the continued existence of their wild counterparts is promising.  And ...

Little Boy Blue is happy :)


  1. That is a very special bird. Very nice.

  2. The Blue Crane is a gorgeous birds. I loved watching it dance. Wonderful photos.

  3. what a lovely story and beautiful moments you captured

  4. I like the happy ending. I hope they have many little blue cranes together.

  5. Great shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  6. Great photos and a great effort for conservation.

  7. Beautiful birds! Really nice shots.

  8. You do bring us the most wonderful avian stories. And I am really happy for Little Boy Blue - and happy that you showed this story to me. Mega thanks - and a happy beginning is such a lovely way to end a story.

  9. Thats a great post - I like the "stop motion" section of the dancing.

    Lets hope they can help make some new cranes!

    Thanks for linking to WBW

    Stewart M - Australia

  10. What a wonderful story! I'm glad Boy Blue is no longer lonely.

  11. It's always such a joy to come here and see your beautiful photos of our precious birds. I enjoyed todays photos ever so much. These birds are really beautiful. I've never seen them dance, so thank you for the enjoyable presentation. You have a wonderful day. Hugs, Edna B.

  12. Great story hope all goes well with the breeding.