I captured this photograph of a juvenile Whooping Crane coming in for a landing a few moments before I captured the adult Whooping Crane that I wrote about last week. You will notice that the juvenile does not have the color-coded banding and GPS transmitter installed yet so it has not been identified and does not have an ID number associated with it.
Whooping Cranes are monogamous, forming pairs at the age of 2 or 3 years and mating for life. Courting pairs perform an elaborate, energetic dance display in which they leap, flap their wings, toss their heads, and even fling feathers and grass. Each breeding pair has a territory defended primarily by the male, who may attack intruding Whooping Cranes by running, flapping, hissing, stabbing, or jumping and slashing with his feet. New pairs often establish a territory near their parents. This juvenile was hanging around with the parents. It was evident they were a family.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens + 1.4x III which extended the lens reach to 560mm (40mm x 1.4). The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/8, shutter speed at 1/2000th of a second and the ISO set at 800. This is a single image processed in Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro.
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