We heard them before we saw them–two majestic sandhill cranes.
Mom and Pop Crane dodged a car that braked wildly. Then Mom Crane launched upward, and Pop followed her, all the while frantically trilling loudly to… whom?
Crane Baby One!
Crane Baby One could have passed for a lively plucked chicken. In the middle of the paved road she muddled, flapping featherless wings, while Mom Crane and Pop Crane cawed warnings to “Get out of the road!”
She completely ignored them. Crane Baby One appeared too confused to change course. She galloped along the dangerous corridor while her mortified parents landed ungracefully to intercept her.
Suddenly from a distance away, guttural high-pitched cawing grabbed Mom and Pop’s attention–and ours. It was Crane Baby Two! A full block away from his parents, he clomped along like he wore oversized boots at the end of his spindly legs. His destination appeared to be a vacant house far off the road, and a swath of thick, brushy forest separated the Crane Babies from one another.
But Mom and Pop had a plan.
They launched above the forest with an obvious “Follow us!” and Crane Baby One gathered her wits. She scrambled up a bank into the woods like she suddenly knew where her bread was buttered.
Mom Crane skimmed the treetops, keeping Crane Baby One in sight. She trilled encouragement to her wayward chick continuously until Crane Baby One found Crane Baby Two.
We lost sight of Mom and Pop Crane as they landed somewhere close to the Crane Babies, and assume that they led their wandering waifs back to a swampy, safe nest.
We never know what we’ll encounter on our calorie-burning walks along Birchwood Loop and Jayhawk Rd. The Crane Family Adventure kept us guessing until the end!