A photographer captures an intimate image of a mother sheltering her chick
ON A BLUSTERY EARLY SPRING DAY on a lake in central Florida, a cold burst of wind suddenly lifts the feathers of a nesting sandhill crane to reveal her one-day-old chick, nestled in the warmth of its mother’s down.
This poignant portrait is a favorite frame of conservation photographer Michael Forsberg, who spent five years documenting sandhill cranes from suburban Florida to remote Arctic climes. “This image shows a really intimate connection,” he says, a bond that’s all the more touching because of the odds: Sandhill cranes bear only one or two young, and in urbanized central Florida, chances of survival for chicks are slim.
A Nebraskan, Forsberg has often photographed the annual mass migration of sandhill cranes to Nebraska’s Platte River, where the abundant birds “appear to fall like leaves” in the distance. Florida’s resident cranes are far more rare but no less vital as ambassadors that can inspire conservation of wetlands and grasslands, important bird habitats now under siege from human encroachment.
To submit images for consideration, write to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Nature’s Witness.”
More from National Wildlife magazine and NWF:
Give a gift that makes a difference for wildlife!Adopt Today
Give today to support our work protecting polar bears, bison, and many more at-risk species.Donate
Give the gift that arrives year-round: ANY subscription to Ranger Rick for 60% off + 2 BONUS gifts included with every order!Order Now
Place your order today for the themed box that delivers everything you need to create family memories while discovering nature and wildlife.Learn More
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.