This April will mark Don’s and my fifth anniversary at Morning Bray Farm.

Every year between October and March, we’re inundated with Sandhill Cranes:

One special crane has visited us every migratory season since October 2007:

What we named her isn’t very creative, but it’s how we’ve always identified her.

Meet Limpy:


She definitely walks with a limp. I believe the pain is in her left knee:

We’ve become quite fond of Limpy. She’s a very pretty bird:

She even has a heart on her head:

We don’t know how old Limpy is, but we do know that the average lifespan of a Sandhill Crane is 20 years. We might just be seeing Limpy for many more years to come.

♥ ♥ ♥

A lot happened at Morning Bray Farm this year. When I sat down yesterday to reminisce by looking through blog posts, the magnitude of the changes here really hit me. 

The blessing of Patrick came to us in March, followed by our beautiful Muscovy ducklings in April. Fergus left us in July, we adopted our BLM beauty Gracie Belle in August, and Buck arrived in October.

Whoa. It all happened so fast.

Last night, Don and I went through and picked our favorite blog photos/moments from 2011. We’ll share our picks this week. If you click on any of the photos, you’ll be taken to the original blog posts.

January 2011

The fabulous four:

Fergus was such a character:

He did an excellent James Cagney impersonation:

Sandhill crane:

February 2011

Our sleeping beauty:

Our first baby of 2011:

I’ll never tire of watching the cranes that overwinter at Morning Bray Farm.

I just recently learned that their normal life span is about 25 years.

Chances are, then, that we’ll see the same pairs back here year after year.

They’re monogamous and mate for life.

This pair seems quite happy together.

Yesterday was the first time I saw one preening another. Interesting.

And check out the legs. I mean, I knew, but still… surprising to actually see.

This attentiveness looks like love to me.

In the next few days and weeks, our cranes will fly to their nesting grounds in the northern regions of North America or even as far as north eastern Siberia. We’ll see them back here again in October. ♥

A crane fossil approximately ten million years old was found in Nebraska and is structurally identical to the modern Sandhill Crane, making it the oldest known bird species still surviving.

Some other interesting facts about Sandhill Cranes from

  • Sandhill Cranes are noted for their elaborate courtship displays. Two displays are used to form mating pairs while three other displays occur only between mates and serve to maintain the pair bond.
  • They frequently preen with vegetation and mud stained with iron oxide resulting in a reddish-brown color rather than their natural gray.
  • A group of cranes has many collective nouns, including a “construction”, “dance”, “sedge”, “siege”, and “swoop” of cranes.