My bird bucket list is divided into two categories: birds I'd like to see before I, well, kick the bucket, and birding experiences I'd like to have. In the latter category, I had only two items on my list. One has a huge check mark beside it, having been accomplished on August 12, 2011. That was the day I watched five young whooping cranes in flight training at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. The flight was short, only a few seconds, but the lump it caused in my throat last for several minutes. Then came the tears. Those lasted even longer, and if I concentrate really hard on that special moment, the tears come again; the encounter was that moving. The item I have yet to check also involves my favorite bird. One day I hope to watch the current class on their last day of their maiden migration as they come into view over the horizon on their way to their winter home in Florida. Until that time, I stay turned to the latest migration news by visiting Operation Migration's In the Field notes.
This year's Class of 2013 left Wisconsin on October 2 and landed at St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast on January 5. The eight juveniles arrived safely, having given the OM crew an adventurous three months, and are now getting comfy in their new digs.
Below are two blogs posts. The first is by OM crew member Geoff Tarbox. He's provided a thorough summary of the entire migration. The second is by Christine Barnes who joyously experienced that second item on my list. Lucky girl!
Labels: #audubon #whooping cranes #cranes #birds #endangered species #Necedah National Wildlife Refuge #birding #Operation Migration #birders, #St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge, #whooping cranes