Welcome to the Christy Yuncker Photo Journal.
Each spring since 1996, a pair of sandhill cranes has reclaimed their nesting territory on our cranberry bog near Fairbanks, Alaska. I have recorded their daily activities in photographs and videos through every summer day until they migrate south in September.For an introduction to the world of Millie, Roy and their colts, we suggest:
Why this website?
Millie and Roy are wild sandhill cranes. Our relationship remains at a distance (100-1500 feet of separation) as we watch and tolerate each other.
We have come 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, to dodge dangers, and to socially interact, and restless excursions to neighboring marshes as fall departure nears.
Likewise Millie and Roy know our habits. They take little notice of every-day barking at sleddog dinner-time yet cue off alarm yelps when a predator is in the neighborhood. The noisy truck that brings a weekly water delivery is ignored whereas the fuel-oil truck that comes once a summer triggers caution. They are accustomed to my opening the deck door to poke the long lens thru the screen curtain...except during mating.
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 a multi-year chronicle, based on over 12,000 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.
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