People dismiss birds as pathetic, dumb animals, woefully unaware of the strength of swans and cranes, the sharp intellect of crows, of the sheer “fuck you” of eagles and hawks.
—  Seriously ppl, stop whining about feathered dinosaurs looking like chickens.

Top Shot: Samurai Crane

Top Shot features the photo with the most votes from the previous day’s Daily Dozen. The Daily Dozen is 12 photos chosen by the Your Shot editors each day from thousands of recent uploads. Our community has the chance to vote for their favorite from the selection.

Your Shot member C. Mei describes capturing this moment. “The red-crowned cranes in Japan are typically a symbol of grace but are hardly associated with bravery – until I witnessed this moment. I was at Akan International Crane Center in Hokkaido when the eagles waiting around on nearby trees came down to steal the fish. Most of the time they were successful but this crane fought back bravely just like a Samurai.” Photograph by C. Mei


This morning I watched the sunrise on a slab of limestone surrounded by various fall yellow flowers and ash juniper shredded by a recent flood.  Shortly before the sun crested three hawks flew over my head.  Shortly after it was these three herons.  Later on I also came up on 3 kingfishers, one lone turtle, and 4 crows.


Today, I photographed the resident sandhill cranes. I eventually gained their trust to get close to them. I blew on a dandelion at one point when I was laying near them, and the female crane with the yellow eyes came over intrigued. I picked some long grass and tossed it to her. She croaked and picked it up, flapped her wings with a jump and tossed it back to me. This means she liked my gift. I whistled to the male with the red eyes and tossed him the grass. He picked it up and danced with it for the female. They danced together until he threw her the grass, and then she tossed it back at me. I tried this a few other times with some success after that, until the sun went down and they flew off for the night.

In short, today I flirted with a sandhill crane.