i saw it happen

Our Sandhill Crane family is in distress. The babies are bird-confused. I don’t know what is going on in their bird-brains. They look at their mother who has been wailing ever since the male just up and left his family, flying away in these blue, sunny skies.

I saw it happen.

Around 1:30 in the afternoon I went out our front door to see how  recently planted Marigolds and purple Petunias were doing.  Sun was not so warm and a nice breeze was stirring the Crape Myrtles, helping them shed their brown and bronze leaves, for approaching winter. I thought I would stay a while and savor the surrounding beauty.

Ours is a nice, clean and peaceful neighborhood.  The lane our house is on, has two lakes.  One is basically in our backyard. The other is joined to the backyards of the houses across our house with a service road running between these two rows.

So I was strolling the front lawn savoring the Sun, telling the Creator what wonderful world He had created and how nice of Him to give humans the ability to forget the sizzling days of Summer. Then I saw them ; mama, papa and their two kids –  the Sandhill Crane family.  They are loved by everyone in this neighborhood, where everybody knows their name ! Only yesterday my granddaughter, coming back home from school saw them walking towards our back yard.  She raced, the fastest she could, came in and without even taking off her back pack, snatched some bread from the breadbox and ran to the backyard where – to her delight, she found them waiting.  They certainly made her day.

Then suddenly this peace and tranquility was broken.  I saw – I saw the male flapping his wings and separating himself  from the family. The other three startled, looked at him who gave out a long and grating Sandhill Crane scream and lifted his body off the ground. Then wings spread, long legs straight and in line behind the body, he flew up and away in a beautiful blue autumn afternoon.  All three looking after his disappearing majestic body. And once he was gone, the female started calling,  Sandhill crane calls, long, gurgling, distressing, calls and the poor babies just looking around then at their mama then again here and there …

Then after much wailing the mother was silent.  She has to think about the babies after all. What if he didn’t come back?  But how could he do that in the first place?  Last summer, I saw something I will never forget.  They were in our backyard. The girls fed them bread. There were peals of happy laughter when the birds would take food from their hands. After finishing their ‘snack’, they started walking down to the lake but  one of the babies was tired and he sat down to take a nap. While the baby was resting these mama and papa stood over him, guarding like sentries. The second baby went down to the lake to wade in the shallow water. After the sleeping baby woke up they all went away, walking so gracefully. I am sure it was not the same family, but at least it tells how family oriented these birds are.

Its really strange. Why did it happen what happened? these birds do not like to be single. You will always see them in pairs, or with a family of two babies; and why always only two babies? because the female lays only two eggs.

I hope he comes back .  Three is not a Sandhill Cranes family.

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