It’s hard to imagine a more different roosting site than a blue crane, and the difference can be stark.
The roosters at Blue Crane Park are housed in a cage, with no windows.
The crane is chained to a wooden base, and a rope tied to its back.
In order to get to the rooster, you must pass through a gate.
There are three other doors at the base of the rooster cage, but the one that opens the cage is locked.
When the roos are out, they’re left to their own devices, without any supervision.
In the summer, the rooers can be seen out in the park at the end of a long stretch of trail on the north side of Highway 403.
The sky above is blue, the ground is covered in moss, and it’s easy to imagine the sun setting in the morning.
But this is not the case for many blue crane owners.
“It’s just a really, really dark place to be in winter, so it’s hard for us to see them, especially when they’re out in full sun,” says Julie Blundell.
Julie is one of about 50 people who live in the community.
“We live on the west side of town and they have a large flock of blue crane that come out in winter and they roost there,” she says.
“The problem is we have a big fence and it just goes up and down and then the sky is blue.”
Julie has been keeping the rovers under her porch, where they can be out in a sunny area, without the fear of being spotted.
“But it’s so dark, we have no windows,” she explains.
“They can come out of the cage, so you just have to be vigilant.”
The Blue Crane Council is one local group that wants to make Blue Crane accessible to all.
“This is a very small community,” says Rob Molloy, a council member who has worked to improve the conditions of Blue Crane since he came on board as council chair in the summer of 2018.
“So it’s really hard for everyone, particularly people who are the least able to walk or do the most damage, to be able to have access to this roost,” he says.
Molloys proposal calls for a fence to be built on the property.
“I would really like to see this, in a way, a buffer between the rooters and the neighbours and to make sure that when the birds are out there, we can see them,” he adds.
Blue Crane has a history of trouble with the police.
In 2018, the council received a complaint from a woman who was harassed for her behaviour.
Police were called and were able to speak to the woman.
They were able, however, to find no wrongdoing on the part of the council.
In November 2018, Blue Crane received an anonymous tip that a man was breaking into the house.
They called police and found a broken fence and a man who was squatting on the ground.
Officers arrested the man, who they were able find guilty of breaching a court order.
The police report said the woman had told officers she saw the man breaking into her house.
She was sentenced to a $1,000 fine.
Molls plans to take action to improve Blue Crane.
“Our community has a really good relationship with the Blue Crane Association, but in the last five years they have gone from being a really great community to a very bad community,” he said.
“If there is a better way to provide the community with access to these roost facilities, we’ll be very interested in hearing it.”
Blue Crane was named the Best Blue Crane Community in the 2016 National Heritage List.
“Blue Crane is a community that is very welcoming, but at the same time has a lot of problems,” says Blundells mother.
“Because they’re in the back of the car and people are not even in the car, there’s a lot less interaction with each other.”
Blundels sister, Rachel, also lives in the neighbourhood, but she’s not so happy with Blue Crane’s attitude towards the roopers.
“What I don’t like is that they are just putting on a display,” she said.
She says the council needs to be more proactive in helping residents to make the changes that would make Blue Cranes rooster-free.
“You can’t just do a quick sweep, you need to have something that’s really in your way,” she explained.
“And it’s not just the fences, but also, people are getting in the way.”