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Copyright 2009-2010 by
Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One of the first things we noticed when we moved into our home last year was the way the Sand Hill Cranes stood at our neighbor's back door and yelled. Their trumpeting call carries over the lake and is intimidating whether these large birds are walking, flying or standing still.

We've learned that our neighbor's late husband used to buy frozen bait fish that he'd feed to the birds. Consequently, generations of birds have come to rely on food from the neighbors who live around the lake. Our neighbor stopped buying the fish, but still tosses out feed corn to the birds. She anchors a cob of corn on a screw for the squirrels and jays and puts corn in a feeder.

The cranes come to her house every afternoon and call for their dinner.

Today, after proofing Senior Life, I was tired. When I sat at my desk at home, I saw not only cranes, but ibises, swans, ducks and other unidentified birds all congregated at the tree. The cranes yelled when I drew near and most of the other birds retreated to the safety of the water. Even though they want people to feed them, they don't trust us, which is as it should be.

I watched the birds and felt the tension of the day melt away. I noticed the swans that normally intimidate all the other creatures withdew from the cranes. One of the juveniles stood his ground longer than the others, but not long enough to risk damage from the sharp beak or talons. When that swan waddled into the water, he maintained his defensive posture of fluffed out wings, which made him look much larger - though I doubt very menacing.

I liked the way the shadows darkened the birds to near silhouettes and even more, I liked how the birds seemed to pose for their photo.