"It was fascination
And it might have ended
Right then, at the start
Just a passing glance
Just a brief romance
And I might have gone
On my way
-- Nat King Cole, "Fascination"
Except these were cranes. Just Sandhill Cranes. Not the exotic Asian birds you see in Japanese art, not the endangered Whooping Cranes, but run-of-the-mill Sandhill Cranes.
But really, is any crane just run-of-the-mill? Is any bird just run-of-the-mill?
Every birder has some story about the precise moment when they became a birder. Jack Conner does a wonderful recounting of his realistic entry into the passion in his "The Complete Birder," a topic for another post. These stories often revolve around some awe-inspiring moment, when a majestic avian being did something supernatural. At least, supernatural to we earth-bound humans, but likely mundane to the creature that did it.
I like to think this is what happened this spring in Suntree, Florida, in a community that hosted a pair of nesting Sandhill Cranes. I don't know the complete story, I was merely the recipient of a link to a slideshow depicting a pair of cranes that nested spitting distance to houses, people, traffic, and ordinary human activities. The images of the birds are, as you would expect, beautiful; I've always found cranes awkwardly beautiful. And so tender and doting with their offspring.
But my favorite shots from the collection are those that highlight the crane-watchers. Adults that look like they've never really noticed birds before (likely they haven't), kids gawking like their latest video game purchase has come alive. Adults with cameras with lenses longer than their arms (and possibly their bank accounts), kids with cameras they probably just learned how to point-and-shoot.
And my favorite, a shot of three kids, seated calmly on the shore of the pond, with a crane-parent just strides away in the cattails. A moment that simply says, "harmony."
But don't take my word for it, see for yourself. Visit Robert Grover's photo site, then click on "slideshow." It's well worth the visit, not only to get an up-close-and-personal view of the cranes, but to witness the entrance of new members to the birdwatching community, though they may not yet realize it.
Photo credit: Sandhill Crane, by Ann Cook
Blog title credit: Nat King Cole, "Fascination."