Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday




The International Crane Foundation


Last weekend while at the Whooping Crane Festival, we took a drive down to Baraboo, Wisconsin to visit the International Crane Foundation site.  We also had the privilege of hearing one of it's founders, Dr. George Archibald, speak at the festival.  He is an amazing, brilliant man who, with his friend and colleague, Dr. Ron Saury formed the ICF out of their mutual love of cranes and commitment to education, research and  diplomacy as a means to achieve conservation of all crane species.  Through their foundation much has been accomplished throughout the world to protect and restore ecosystems  shared by  people and the cranes of the world.  The success stories of many of the remaining  flocks of endangered cranes can be attributed to the compromises designed by the ICF with the people who share their world with the cranes.  If you love our natural world, you will admire the work of these two accomplished men and their Foundation.

On their site in Baraboo, they have pairs of all 15 of the crane species and are instrumental in providing research and support to aid in worldwide programs including  Operation Migration (last weeks post) which is nurturing the growth of a new Whooping Crane Flock that will help guarantee their survival.  The Whooping Crane numbers were down to 22, (1941) in the only known natural wild flock, before measures were taken to save them.  Today there are just over 600 Whooping Cranes (wild and captive).  The wild flock's breeding area in Aransas, Alaska and their winter marshes in Texes are at high risk of pollution and depletion because of man's close proximaty.  That makes the second flock essential to the continued existance of the Whoopers.

 
 
For more information on the International Crane Foundation, click on the link at the top of this post.  Foundations such as these depend greatly on donations and grants.  They also look for interested and trained people to share in their quest.  These doors are open to all of you ... be my guest today :)

I can't possibly share pictures of all 15 crane species in one post so I will pick a few and save others for another post.  It seems only natural, since you saw the Whoopers in flight last week, to start with the pair at ICF. 
 
The area housing the Whooping cranes is designed to mimic their natural habitat.  They have the same food and conditions they would find in the wild.
 

 
 The Cranes are one of the few birds where the male is larger than the female. Note the black tip showing on the males wing.

The females are banded on the left leg and the males on the right, for future reference :)

Ohh, what big feet you have, my dear ...
 
 
Black Crowned Cranes (Balearica pavonina)
 
One of the most striking of the cranes is also the ancestor of Crowned Cranes that lived 55 -33 million years ago.  Now they live only in the warmer regions of Central and South Africa.  There are two subspecies of Black Crowned Cranes in addition to a Grey Crowned Crane (also in Africa).  They are the only modern cranes that still have a usable long, grasping hind toe(halux) that allows them to roost in trees.
This Crane faces natural ( droughts) and man made (wetlands degradation and pollution with fertilizers, industrial wastes and DDT which is still used in there area) threats.  They are also often caught in the cross-fires of human strife and political wars so their future is tenuous at best.

18 comments:

  1. i remember sandhills from my youth in wisconsin. great shots, andrea!

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  2. Super post, Andrea. I have never seen a whooping crane!

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  3. Great shots of the cranes! I've never seen one in person. Beautiful birds!

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  4. A fantastic post... lovely birds to see..

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  5. Beautiful birds, wonderful captures and such interesting information, Andrea! Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great day!

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  6. Lovley your crane pictures ,have a look on my blog and you see ours too ,Nette

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  7. Love the shot of the foot out of the water. The colors on the head are quite lovely.
    Thanks once again Andrea for wonderful info.

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  8. Their white feathers are so bright. From Findlay

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  9. Superb birds. I'd love to see one in the wild.

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  10. Beautiful birds. It's so sad that there is so much wetland degradation all over the world.

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  11. The cranes are incredibly colorful and love the crest. But the Whooping Cranes are stupendous....South Texas has a migrating habitat for the Whooping Crane during their migration and nest here...but I have yet to spot one.

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  12. Great post on the Whooping Cranes. Your photos are awesome!

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  13. Equisite. I would be more than happy for you to post your way through all of the Crane species and sub species. Incredible birds. Thank you.
    And thank goodness for sucessful conservation teams. May there be many more of them (for many more species).

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  14. What a great place to visit! YOur shots are lovely.

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  15. wow those are great shots of the cranes, I liked the black crowned one at the end also. cheers.

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  16. Nice set of pictures. I am planning to spend a little time in northern Australia next year - hope to get some pictures of our cranes then.

    Thanks for linking to WBW

    Stewart M - Australia

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  17. Fantastic photos of birds I've never seen before!

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  18. Wowee, what great shots! I've never seen these cranes before (in person) and they are so beautiful. I've only been up close to the sandhill crane. Thank you so much for all the information too. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

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