The sun had just made its entrance over the tree line. The words were starting to flow on the pages. Perfect start to my day; and then I heard it. From somewhere over there. Across the meadow. Maybe?
Having left the house without the field glasses, I was at the mercy of my eyesight and my camera with a 70-300 lens. Both, I quickly realized, were useless in the early morning shadowy light.
My determination to confirm the sound echoing up the valley turned my writing morning up-side-down. It didn’t take me long to cease the pencil scratching across the paper and start the vehicle. Slowly travelling the gravel road in the direction of where I thought the sound was coming from.
The road ran parallel to the meadow making for easy, every so often, glances off to the south. Finally! I spotted the noisy couple and came to a stop to watch them in their courtship dance, jumping into the air and bobbing up and down. I was still too far away to get any kind of respectable pictures to share.
They seemed to be engrossed with each. I took advantage of them ignoring me and moved the vehicle to a better viewing spot that was about a quarter of a mile away from them.
- They mate for life.
- They can start mating at 2 years of age but may reach 7 years before starting.
- They wow their potential mates with their dance moves.
- They attack predators by spreading their wings, hissing and kicking.
- They nest (in Alberta) in wetlands, the foothills and boreal forests.
- Nests can be up to 40” or more, across.
- They are known to make more than a dozen sounds.
- Adult colouring is grey bodied with red cap on their head. Immature birds lack the red cap.
- Eats grain, vertebrates, shoots and tubers.
- Birds of Alberta
- 250 North American Birds in Song
Author, Photographer, Lover of Life