Sunday's for the Birds: Whooping Crane Roundup #2

The whoopers are in the news again; some good, some interesting, and some not so good.

Good News from Operation Migration (OM):
The first three whooping crane eggs hatched this week at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland; numbers 1-13, 2-13, and 3-13. The first number indicates the order of hatching and the second number, the year hatched. These three chicks will be part of the whooping crane reintroduction project. Some will learn to follow ultralight planes to Florida and become part of the Eastern Migratory Flock. Others will be sent to Louisiana to increase the population of the non-migratory flock.

OM is getting ready for its annual Whooping Crane Festival, which will be held September 13-15. Activities are scheduled for the communities (Necedah, Baraboo, Berlin, and Green Lake, Wisconsin) near where the whoopers are trained in preparation for migration to Florida. OM is collecting items for their silent auction. If you are interested in donating, check out this link: Silent Auction. Last year the silent auction raised more than $5,000.

Good Research Question from the Whooping Crane Conservation Association:
Fellow cranic, Pam Bates, with the Whooping Crane Conservation Association, sent me this photo asking if I knew where it had been taken. The photographer was Robert W. Hines, a bird artist who worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But we were unable to identify the location until my good friend, Mike Starring, did his google magic and found out it was taken at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. It's unusual to see so many whoopers gathered in one area.
Click here for one of Hines': whooping crane sketches

photo taken at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge possibly in 1899.
Bad News from Louisiana:
Another whooping crane was shot in Louisiana. The body was discovered this week and it is believed that the bird was killed in mid-April. The female crane was part of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' crane reintroduction project. A $3,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. Two whoopers from this flock were shot and killed in October of 2011. A witness reported that two boys drove up in a truck and shot the birds. Reports about this latest shooting can be made by calling 1-800-442-2511.

To read about current recovery plans to increase the population of whooping cranes, check out the epilogue of my book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story (University Press of Florida) released in September 2012. I like to describe the book as Indiana Jones meets John J. Audubon. 

The book has been nominated for:
 George Perkins Marsh Award for environmental history
Washington State Book Award for history/general nonfiction.
Contact me if your Audubon chapter, nature center, library, or birding club is interested in having me present a program on the story of the whooping cranes and the ornithologist who helped save them from extinction.