Thursday, just in time for Earth Day, the family of sandhill cranes that shares its year-round home with the humans who work in and around Tampa North Aero Park (including the Tribune’s Wesley Chapel outpost) made itself available for a photo opportunity.
Mom and Dad must be doing something right. Their two chicks – the annual quota – have survived past their most vulnerable fuzzy golden down days. This is reassuring. I’ve seen plenty of breeding-age couples tending only a single chick this spring, and some none at all.
I mean, I know bobcats, foxes, coyotes and such have to eat. The circle of life and all that. Nonetheless, it tugs at the old anthropomorphic heartstrings to see adult couples with one offspring or chick-less, and to imagine their loss.
All of which makes the sighting of an intact sandhill quartet an occasion for celebration. Thank Gaia.