Sandhill Cranes in Corn and Flight

Sandhill Cranes are encouraged to stay in the Rio Grande Valley through the winter by corn crops planted specifically for them and other migratory birds. State and National Wildlife officials coordinate their efforts, so that the birds and land are best cared for. Here in New Mexico, the cranes are considered something of a winter treasure by anyone who has seen them.

If one looks closely at the corn in the foreground, one can see the distinctive red patches on the heads of many sandhill cranes. The corn provides food and also good protection for the birds.

As I was photographing in this area, a motorcyclist drove by. The cranes appear to be used to cars driving by, but they were spooked by the motorcycle. In the end, I was almost grateful to the cyclist, because he gave me a chance to photograph cranes in the corn and in flight.

Sandhill cranes really are a sight to behold along the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico in winter!

Sandhill Cranes
Sand Hill Cranes in Corn and Flight

Sandhill Cranes on Foot

Sandhill Cranes on Foot

Although as a photographer I really love to show birds in flight, it is also important to photograph them as they are usually seen for longer periods of time. Many sandhill cranes overwinter in the Rio Grande River Valley of New Mexico, which is desert. The riparian area along the river is often referred to as “the bosque,” and it is a very important environmental areas for many living things.

Corn (and other crops) are planted in State and National Wildlife Refuge areas to attract and keep overwintering birds such as the cranes.

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes on Foot

Sandhill Crane in the New Year

Sandhill Crane on January 1, 2014, in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico.

The magnificent Sandhill Cranes overwinter in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. They are spectacular in flight, as well as impressive on the ground!

sandhill crane
Sandhill Crane in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year to readers here.

Fall was very busy with photography. In these winter months I’ll be catching up with new posts here.

Curve-Billed Thrasher

Curve-Billed Thrasher

Unlike yesterday, I did not set out this morning to photograph birds in the yard. I had a lot of things on my mind, and went straight to the computer to start checking email. But, there was a most beautiful song, loud and clear, coming through the window. I know the songs of many of the birds that frequent my yard, but I did not recognize this one. I looked out the window and saw this curve-billed thrasher singing its heart out on top of the “look out tree.”

I see curve-billed thrashers on my patio, when they come to get peanuts I leave out, mainly for the jays. But I cannot remember seeing one in this tree, or especially hearing its beautiful song. It was a wonderful start to the morning.

bird curve-billed thrasher
Curve-billed thrasher

This video was made by T.Stone in Arizona in 2010, and lets you hear the beautiful song of this bird.

The Early Bird Gets the Water, the Worm, the Seed, and the Photo

Yesterday morning I was out photographing flowers in the yard. I noticed a lot of birds, but did not have the best lens on the camera for that type of photography. So, this morning I got up early and went out to see what birds were out today.

This is a juvenile scrub jay. The jays love peanuts, but will come for the water in a bird bath. This summer has been so hot and dry – New Mexico is in the midst of “extreme drought” – that many birds will come for the water, even without food being put out.

Bird scrub jay
Scrub jay

This is a white winged dove, keeping a wary eye on me. The pine tree shows damage from both drought and disease (dry trees are more susceptible to disease), but that tree is home to several birds. I hope it manages to survive.

white winged dove
White winged dove

For as long as I have lived here, a variety of birds have used this juniper as a type of “look out.” Birds also nest in this tree. This image shows a robin and a scrub jay. Scrub jays do not like to share, and the jay soon chased the robin off.

robin and scrub jay
Robin and scrub jay

House finches, goldfinches, road runners, sparrows, hummingbirds, and mourning doves are also seen very frequently here, so expect more bird photos.

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