Possible motivations

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 09:49:37 04/10/15

In Reply to: Show-off posted by Lynnette


There are 3 possible reasons that I can think of for cranes spreading their wings and hopping around, based on my observations of them in Yellowstone:

1.) In spring, during those weeks after they first arrive, we have witnessed what appear to be territorial disputes over prime nesting areas. It appears that only one mating pair get to use a specific location, because I have NEVER seen more than one nest in a pond or small lake.

2.) I have witnessed this behavior on occasion, when a nesting site or progeny are threatened by a predator or any sort of perceived threat.

3.) It could also be part of courtship behavior. I don't know if yearling cranes are reproductively mature, but it is not uncommon in wildlife species to see sub-adults "practicing" the behavior they will eventually use for the serious business of mating on each other.

One could argue that it is simply a display of exuberance, celebrating "pastures of plenty", and a relative lack of predators to worry about. The rest of the year, they will have to work for their meals, and be vigilant for predators.

Since nobody has figured out a way to "interview" a crane, we may never know the answer to this fourth, and possibly anthropomorphic interpretation.


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