Resident cranes can be seen from the pool March-August, particularly in the morning when they bravely feed from the spilled seed supply of bird feeders and at dusk as they return from foraging the surrounding hills.
Cranes mate for life and co-parent, the pair at NHS have produced two chicks each of the last 9 years. Our cranes teach their young to land accurately by repeatedly flying from the top of the hills down to our wetlands. Flight school precedes their winter migration. They head south following the success of all four landing in the same spot.
Mistakenly called an antelope, these animals break up their mixed-sex herds in early spring but share their summer range in the grassy hills above NHS. The fresh water of Warm Springs Creek fed by the hot springs drainage combined with the natural salt licks created by the intense mineral build up from the springs, attract herds to within viewing distance of the pool.
NHS keeps birdfeeders stocked daily to attract migrating seed eating birds and have planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs to provide food and habitat for a large variety of songbirds.
Depending on the season expect to see anything from the tiny wrens, finches, and lazuli buntings to larger orioles, tanagers, flickers, northern harriers, eagles both bald and golden and of course, 4’ sandhill cranes.
Both mule and white-tailed deer live and feed around NHS year round.
White-tailed deer are the resident species and spotted fawns can be seen from the pool each summer and sometimes in the gardens if they slip through the fence to wreak havoc on the carrot beds.
Mule deer, named for the size of their ears, move down in winter from the mountains to forage on the plentiful woody vegetation surrounding the springs.