Sunday's for the Birds: Today We Hope

My bird blog was ready to post days ago. I had just returned from a long weekend on San Juan Island where I was playing tour guide to my sister on her first visit to the islands. We’d just discovered a new bald eagle nest with two eaglets and both attending parents. But after logging on to Operation Migration's website on Thursday evening, I knew the eagle story would have to wait for another Sunday.
            I often check on the progress of the new class of whooping crane chicks. The OM team’s daily updates usually put me in a good mood, if not have me laughing out loud. Thursday’s news was not good, though. Seems the oldest wild whooping crane and my favorite, was shot and killed on his 36th migratory trip into Canada. I’d planned to blog about the old male Lobstick and what his long life meant to the survival of his species, then once more, I changed my mind.
            The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Department is still investigating and has not positively identified the crane as the Lobstick male, since he was not tagged. So, the good news, although slim, is he might still be alive, the bad news is another whooping crane has been shot. For now while I await further information, I’ll quote Audubon ornithologist Robert Porter Allen in his 1955 press release, urging folks living in the whooping crane’s migratory route to allow the birds safe passage. 
       “People in the vicinity of these areas should be alerted to the role that they can play in       helping to prevent the accidental or willful shooting of these magnificent birds. Will the  five young [whooping cranes] that have been raised this season be spared or are they to be thoughtlessly and needlessly destroyed as they attempt to cross the U. S. from Canada to their ancestral winter home on the coast of Texas? This is a challenge that can be met only by those who live close to the migratory route. The interest and active cooperation of communities and residents in these areas is urgently needed. Once more you are urged to do your part in saving the whooping crane for the America of tomorrow.”
            American's tomorrow: fifty-seven years later and Allen’s message is more urgent than ever.

Photo taken from OM website June 8, 2012
            I’ll end this blog on a positive note. Check out numbers 4 and 12 of the Class of 2012, now cocky adolescents strutting their stuff in the big cage.  OM