Photos by Mark Renz
According to the International Crane Foundation, all cranes dance,
bow, jump, run, toss sticks or grass, and flap their wings.
Courtship is one reason but ICF research suggests that cranes
dance at any age and season as part of a normal part of motor development.
Dancing may also thwart aggression, relieve tension,
and strengthen bonds between the pair or the family.
With this in mind, try to follow which bird is doing what.
The immature crane lacks the red cap so it's easy to spot.
In the first few images, the youngster is positioned on the right,
but eventually the order changes.
Males and females are often indistinguishable in how they look
but within breeding pairs, the male is usually the largest.
In this series, which has been edited to exclude out-of-focus frames,
it appears that the immature crane is absorbing the dance and even
participating with a little wing-flapping at one point.
I can't be sure, but it appears as if the male is the one
grasping the stick as it thrusts its body up into the air, legs kicking.
I got so caught up in their dance that I found myself trying their moves,
much to the raised eyebrows of my sweet Marisa.