Exotic Gray Crane Continues Life at Large|
By Lisa M. Krieger
San Jose Mercury News, January 7, 2007, pages 3B
Since flying the coop, much has happened in his life. He lost his mate, who accompanied him but died days later. He settled into a new home in an abandoned apricot orchard. And he gained a large and devoted following of worried bird-lovers.
The crane has survived the Peninsula's winter wind and rains at least so far.
Worried about his survival once weather turns harsher, Humphries and others have been feeding him cracked corn, cat food, bird seed and other delicacies in hopes of fattening him up. In his native Uganda, Wednesday's temperatures hit the balmy upper 70s.
Hills residents have also turned protective, cautioning would-be viewers that frightening the bird could stress and weaken it.
The exotic crane, with colorful plumage and a top-knot of stiff golden bristles, spends nights and rainy days in the shelter of high trees. During the day, he explores local pastures and orchards in this rustic corner of town.
He has struck up an amiable acquaintance with a local red-tailed hawk, as well as quail, jays and other native birds, observers say.
A curious creature, he has been seen peering through a kitchen window, only inches from the face of a curious house cat.
But a large cage made from wire mesh, baited with bok choy, with a trapdoor that can be triggered by a yank on fishing line stands empty.
He's approached it, but never entered. Neither has anything else.
"Not even raccoons are interested," Humphries said.
Contact Lisa M. Krieger at firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier Story 1: Crowned Crane Graces Los Altos Hills (11-29-2006)
Earlier Story 2: Crane Loses Mate, But Owner Identified (11-30-2006)