Dancing Japanese Cranes, Lake Hokkaido

The red-crowned crane is one of Japan’s most charismatic and emblematic animals. At approximately four feet tall, the cranes dance, jump, and chase one another in a poetic courtship display of great importance since they mate for life; their exuberant calls ring throughout the mountain valleys. Once found throughout Asia, Japanese cranes are now endangered. However, recent efforts to maintain a habitat on Lake Hokkaido have produced a comeback and offer hope for the cranes’ survival in Japan. With a 600 mm lens, I captured this pair in Lake Hokkaido’s late-afternoon light.

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