In Monte Vista, one can spend a great deal of time simply watching the birds for particular behaviors. Sandhill Cranes spend most of their day browsing together in fields for grain. The grain is left there intentionally and the local marshlands are irrigated to keep the habitat attractive for these migrating birds.
A bird that is eating doesn’t make a very exciting image, so one must keep an eye of the sub groups within the flock for the birds that are displaying mating or aggressive behavior. Constant instances of dancing and wing flapping can be seen throughout the field of cranes, but we’re looking for the birds that are close, well lit and unobstructed to photograph.
Often, Sandhill crane photography is as much a social event for the photographers as it is a photographic event. When the birds gather, the photographers and bird watchers gather.