Cranes in the Mud

In mid-March, at Loess Bluffs NWR in Missouri, I was very fortunate to observe behavior in Sandhill Cranes that is rarely seen in migrating Cranes.

This pair of Cranes landed near my location and began painting themselves with mud.  The crane experts believe it is a behavior that provides more camouflage.  It is often seen when the birds are nesting and the mud is a reddish color.  It leads me to believe that this pair was going to nest at Loess Bluffs this season