Steamboat Springs A steady stream of elegant-looking sandhill cranes has been arriving in the river bottoms and grain fields west of Steamboat Springs this week and pairing up during a break in their annual trip north.
Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.
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The cranes aroused the passions of ornithologists here in 2012 after a hunting season was proposed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Even as the cranes pause here on their way to their nesting grounds, a couple of pink flamingos have mysteriously disappeared from a quiet Steamboat neighborhood.
Mark Traum got in touch this week to say that he removed his favorite lawn ornaments from the shed this week and poked their skinny legs into a rotting snowbank at the end of his driveway on Logan Street. Think of it as a rite of spring. However, the birds soon disappeared, perhaps pilfered, possibly even purloined.
“They were right on the street. I knew I should have put them on the interior side of the snow bank, closer to the house,” Traum said. “I called the cops, and they wanted to send an officer. I don’t want to prosecute anyone. There’s no need to take fingerprints. I just want my flamingos back. Or, if they’ve found a better home, I’d like to know.”
Logan Street is the kind of Steamboat neighborhood where folks are on a first-name basis with their neighbors and don’t expect this kind of sordid crime to take place.
Traum said it would be one thing if the unknown bad guys had just indulged in some mischief and relocated the matching pink birds elsewhere in his yard. That would be amusing. But these bad actors actually stole a man’s birds.
The flamingos are not without sentimental value. Traum said they were a gift of sorts from Bill Sanders. It was understood that Traum would pass them on to someone else at the end of the summer, but he couldn’t bear to part with them.
My sisters and I indulged in a similar tradition over the space of five or six Christmas holidays when we would pack up a pair of smelly old socks in a beautifully wrapped gift box and send them on to the next victim. I don’t recall anyone hoarding them for an extra season or two.
And I don’t want to be harsh, but Traum may have created his own bad karma by keeping the flamingos to himself.
There’s also the possibility the Traum household actually was resented by the neighbors for their somewhat tacky lawn ornamentation and the flamingos now reside at the bottom of the Green Monster recycling dumpster (after all, Steamboat is the kind of progressive town where even common criminals practice sustainability).
I wonder if Traum even has considered the possibility that his pets are Alberta-bound. They could be fattening up on grain spilled during last year’s harvest in a West Routt field and gaining strength before joining the great flock of cranes as they follow the receding snow northward to their ancestral mating grounds.
If you’re out for a Sunday drive this weekend and spot two large pink birds circling and swooping in for a landing in a fallow field, you won’t have to wonder what they are or where they came from. They’re a couple of freedom-loving flamingos from Logan Street.
Fly far, my feathered friends.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1