These photos were taken near sunset on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 on Jefferson County Route N between Fort Atkinson and Jefferson, Wisconsin. If you are in the neighborhood, you can spot the nest on the east side of the road. There isn’t much shoulder, so be careful if you want to take photos. You will need a long lens. The effective focal length for each shot below was 800 mm, that is, 500 mm on a 1.6 crop sensor.
When I arrived at the site, there was a solitary crane sitting on the nest. Shortly thereafter, the mate arrived. Without further ado, both cranes broke into song for about 45 seconds, as if they were celebrating being together again. Then, as best as I can tell, they switched places on the nest. Before sitting on the egg, the newly arrived crane took time to adjust the egg.
Thanks to my friend, Rick Hintze, for telling me about the nest.
I’ve never seen a sandhill crane on a nest before, so I was pleased to see the birds interact like they did.