June, 20, 2017 - summer solstice.
Millie and Roy did not return in May 2017. Their grace and beauty mixed with grit and perserverance is ever in our minds. Now, what happens to their territory? We continue to watch...

  Welcome to the Christy Yuncker Photo Journal.

Each spring from 1996 through 2016, a pair of sandhill cranes returned from migration to reclaim their nesting territory on our cranberry bog near Fairbanks, Alaska. Here are their stories, recorded every summer day for 21 years.


  Why this website?

Millie and Roy were wild sandhill cranes. Our relationship remained respectful (100-1500 feet of separation) as we studied each other.

Millie and Roy knew our habits. They took little notice of every-day barking at sleddog dinner-time yet cued off alarm yelps when a predator was in the neighborhood. The noisy truck that brings a weekly water delivery was ignored whereas the fuel-oil truck that comes once a summer triggered caution. They were accustomed to my opening the deck door to poke the long lens thru the screen curtain...except during mating.

Likewise we came to know their patterns: excited dancing on the icy pond after arrival each spring, nesting, coaching each year's colts (to forage, to dance, to fly and to dodge dangers), and family excursions to neighboring marshes when fall departure neared.

My notes and images provide a continuous record of successive nesting seasons of this pair of cranes. A report on a single bout of behavior might be considered anecdotal, but we believe that my multi-year chronicle, based on over 13,000 hours of close observation, can be viewed as a longitudinal study of nesting and nuturing. It is told from a personal point of view, yet the camera keeps it true.

Visitors to this website may have insights from their own perspectives. Please email your comments or questions or reports of other cranes raising their colts.

     Christy Yuncker Happ

                    All our photo galleries and blogposts are listed on the Sitemap.

Photo Galleries
Featured Galleries
   • 2015.6 - Run, Flap & Catch Air
   • 2016.1- Millie & Roy - 21st year
   • 2016.2 - Hatch failed
   • 1 - Arrival
   • 2 - First week
   • 3 - Incubation
   • 4 - Roy's ice dancing
   • 5 - Pi hatches
   • 6 - Pi dances
   • 7 - Dodging Danger
   • 8 - Dragonflies
   • 9 - Fitness for flight
   • 10 - Swim with Dad
   • 11 - Dance and fly
   • 12 - August flight school
   • 13 - Foraging and intruders
   • 14 - Pi explores his world
   • 15- -Time to migrate
Crane biology
Hawks, owls, and eagles
Other birds
   • Birds in motion
   • Ducks, geese, grebes
   • Shorebirds
   • Perching birds
Mammals
   • Moose
   • Caribou and reindeer
   • Carnivores
   • Muskoxen and sheep
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Related links

guide Sandhill Crane Display Dictionary
Order from Amazon


Collaborating artist

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© 2017 Christy Yuncker Happ



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