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This is the story of two cranes that were hatched in 1986. They were together until 2011, when the female returned after fall migration without the male. I called them "Al and Diane," and they have a remarkable story.

Their plastic color bands fell off after 8 years, but each adult bird has an aluminum band above the “knee.” The two adults could be told apart by their size difference. The male was slightly larger and had the metal band above his right “knee.” Which one is he in this photo? How old were the pair by 2011?


Photo Howard Murph