Hop, skip and jump
Camera settings are off somewhat for this shot, but still a fun moment with a pair of Japanese red-crowned cranes.
A freezing winter’s day just outside of Kushiro on the east coast of Japan’s most northern island of Hokkaido, and the time had come at last to see in person my beloved tancho. How many years I have wished and hoped to see these extremely rare birds, especially their courtship ballet set against a snowy stage.
The population of red-crowned cranes in Japan is mostly non-migratory and currently consists of just a thousand or so birds.
Hunting and land loss led to a near extinction in the late 1800s. Governments and citizens woke up to the plight of tancho in the 1950s...now protected, supported, and with a secure winter food supply, the population began a dramatic recovery that has made it the great success story of 20th century conservation in Japan.
The red-crowned crane is a potent icon. In symbolic form, it is the bird of happiness and long life (in fable it lives for a 1,000 years).
Height 160 cm
The red-crowned crane, also called the Japanese crane, is a large east Asian crane and among the rarest cranes in the world. In some parts of its range, it is known as a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity.