• A sea of ash grey plumes transforms the desert landscape. When they fly, their huge wings whooshing, the birds look pale blue and the black pattern on their underbelly looks like they’re wearing black ties.
  • There must be some 500 cranes at the reservoir, preening their feathers, drinking water from a small pond, looking towards the afternoon sun.
  • The local community members are proud ambassadors of the cranes, always eager to take birdwatchers around the village.
  • Many have built viewing platforms on their terraces, a great vantage for visitors to watch the birds from.
  • Demoiselle cranes are found in 47 countries around the world, and although they are not endangered, they face threats from habitat loss.
  • They feed on plants, insects, grains and small mammals. T
  • his village is ideal habitat, with its matrix of wetlands, cultivated lands, ponds and food provisioning grounds.
  • Although the crane’s population increase is seen as a conservation success, the idea of artificially feeding these wild birds has drawn criticism too. “Providing food artificially can cause unnatural flocking in some areas.
  • Research says that while artificial feeding may be good to rapidly bolster crane populations, it is not a good long-term conservation measure.
  • The birds also take a toll on the crops.
  • Cranes feeding on crops is not always welcome
  • This will have to be monitored so that the positive attitude of the area’s inhabitants is not damaged.