I photographed this pair of Sandhill Crane colts at Orlando Wetlands Park when they were just two days old. Now, they are a little more than a week old, and they are growing up fast.
They’ve become a big attraction at the park – perhaps too much so.
People are flocking to OWP to get pictures. Lots of people.
Some, as noted by talented wildlife photographer and friend Tim Barker on Facebook, are not being respectful enough and giving the Sandhill Crane family their space.
I tried to keep my distance as I shot these photos and kept moving back as they neared me. (Tim was with me, so hopefully he can vouch for that if you have any questions.)
Interacting with humans and other wildlife is part of growing up for these colts.
As the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission notes, “Within 24 hours of hatching, the young are capable of following their parents away from the nest. Together, they forage for seeds and roots, crop plants such as corn and peanuts, insects, snakes, frogs and occasionally young birds or small mammals.”
Interestingly, one item the cranes – young and old – don’t eat is fish, the FWC says.
“Cranes are quite omnivorous … but do not ‘fish’ like herons,” the FWC noted.