They dance gracefully on the snowy field, confirming their love for one another.

At a "tancho" observation spot next to Akan International Crane Center in Kushiro, two Japanese cranes -- a protected species -- perform courtship dances.

Dance is used to strengthen the bond between the elegant-looking birds, also known as red-crowned cranes, before breeding.
When one bird spreads its wings and leaps gracefully, the other bird moves in harmony.

The dance can often be observed when the weather is warmer than usual during the winter months and, this year, many pairs started this ritual from the middle of February, when temperatures rose.

"There are a large number of cranes before and after feeding at 8:30 a.m. so activities such as dancing become lively," said Miyuki Kawase, head of the observation center.

The dance can be observed until next month when the cranes return from the feeding ground to the wetlands.

The Hokkaido Shimbun Press

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