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Top 25 Wild Birds Photographs of the Week: The Cranes

The beautiful plumage and mating dances of cranes have made these species popular with people across the world. Cranes feature in the mythology of various cultures, for example in Japan, cranes symbolise good fortune and longevity. Despite their popularity, many cranes face an uncertain future. Of the fifteen species of crane in the world, 11...

The beautiful plumage and mating dances of cranes have made these species popular with people across the world. Cranes feature in the mythology of various cultures, for example in Japan, cranes symbolise good fortune and longevity. Despite their popularity, many cranes face an uncertain future. Of the fifteen species of crane in the world, 11 are threatened with extinction. Some of main threats are degradation of wetlands and other habitats, collision with energy infrastructure, poisoning and hunting. We would like to thank all the photographers who submitted crane photographs this week, your pictures can bring greater awareness to these beautiful birds and the challenges they face. This week we were lucky enough to get photograph submissions for 9 of the world’s crane species. Here we present the Top 25, a spectacular collection of these beautiful birds in action, enjoy!

A Whooping Crane foraging in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, USA (Christopher Ciccone)
Sandhill Cranes congregated at Salton Sea, a inland saline waterbody in California, USA (Leslie Reagan)
A group of Demoiselle Cranes flying above Nasik, India (Preety Patel)
The largest populations of Black-necked Cranes are in central China and Tibet. Black-necked Cranes are revered by locals in Tibet, every year a festival is held at the Gangteng Monastery to honour the arrival of the cranes for the breeding season (Shivayogi Kanthi)
A Sarus Crane in action! Photographed in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, India (Anirban Roychowdhury)
Sandhill Cranes have a loud and rattling call (John Olson)
A Grey Crowned Crane wades through a wetland in Djibouti, East Africa (Goutam Mitra)
A Blue Crane photographed in the Overberg region of South Africa. This species has benefitted from the expansion of agriculture in this region, particularly wheat cultivation (Adriana Dinu)
A pair of Common Cranes in the Little Rann of Kutch, India (Vidya Vijay Kulkarni)
The Grey Crowned Crane has spectacular plumage! This crane was photographed by Subhamoy Das in the Amboseli National Park, Kenya
A group of Common cranes of mixed ages in Rajasthan, India. Those with dark plumage on the heads are 3 years or older, while those with duller head plumage are juveniles (Hitesh Chawla)
A beautiful portrait of two Sarus Cranes at the Dhanauri wetlands, India (Ajay Singh Rajawat)
The heat is almost palpable in this photograph! During the summer Black-necked Cranes breed here, near the Tso Kar salt lake in northern India (Sandipan Ghosh)
A Demoiselle Crane takes a drink of water in Lunkaransar, India (Vishesh Kamboj)
The Sarus Crane is found in India, south-east Asia and Australia, the Asian populations in particular are affected by the degradation of wetland habitats (Indranil Bhattacharjee)
Of all the African cranes, the Wattled Crane is most dependent on wetlands (Owen Deutsch)
The plumage of adult Sandhill Cranes is usually grey but during summer the feathers may have a red tinge, from the cranes preening themselves with mud. This could simply be because the bill is muddy when they preen or the mud could function to protect the bird from parasites (Jola Charlton)
A ferocious dispute between two Sandhill Cranes at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, USA (Julia Browne)
These shallow wetlands are ideal breeding habitat for these Black-necked Cranes, they build their nests on shallow grassy islands or on the water (Sandipan Ghosh)
A stunning shot of a Demoiselle Crane in flight (Owen Deutsch)
The Grey Crowned Crane population has declined dramatically in the last couple of decades, it is now listed as Endangered on the IUCN Redlist (Giridhar Vijay)
A Sandhill Crane takes flight in Ellison Bay, USA (John Olson)
Demoiselle Cranes often congregate in large flocks in their Indian wintering grounds, sometimes these flocks can cause significant damages to cultivated fields (Anirban Roychowdhury)
A pair of Grey Crowned Cranes forage in the Maasai, Mara Kenya (Giridhar Vijay)
Sarus Cranes perform elaborate courtship dances, this pair was photographed in Sultanpur, India (Sudhir Kadam)

Our mission is to build a global community around the freedom and beauty of birds in the wild as ambassadors for the natural ecosystems that they depend upon. They are the music, decoration, and character of every terrestrial habitat on the planet and have been around since the dinosaurs. They are the witnesses and ambassadors of the awesome power of nature. The wide availability of good, cheap optics has opened their world to us for the last few decades. Amazing, affordable DSLR cameras with long lenses are delivering brilliant digital bird imagery to online communities.

We are in a day-and-age during which more bird species are threatened with extinction than ever before. The Wild Birds! Revolution aims to publish the “Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week” to 1 million people every week by the end of the year. That is a revolution that will change the world! Join thousands of other weekend naturalists, photographers, birders, experts, hikers, nature-lovers, guides, scientists, conservationists and artists that share the thousands of wild bird photographs submitted to the Wild Bird Trust website and Facebook page. Thousands of wild bird enthusiasts are going out every day to photograph our planet’s beautiful birdlife. Pick up your camera, fill your bird feeder, open your heart, and join the Wild Birds! Revolution!!

Edited by Christie Craig, Campaign Manager


Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: The LBJs

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Meet the Author

Steve Boyes
Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.