ICF is FREE for Moms on Mother’s Day!

Find out what it takes to be a “crane mom” to endangered Whooping Cranes.

The International Crane Foundation is free to all Mom’s on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, 2013. Enjoy arts and crafts, nature hikes and discover the incredible role ICF aviculturists play as “crane moms” raising captive-bred Whooping Crane chicks for release into the wild. Photo by Joel Sartore/www.joelsartore.com

Baraboo, WI – On Sunday, May 12, 2013, the International Crane Foundation (ICF) is celebrating Mother’s Day by giving free admission to all moms. Open 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, visitors can take guided nature walks, enjoy arts and crafts, and learn about the incredible role ICF aviculturists play as “crane moms” raising captive-bred Whooping Crane chicks for release into the wild.

ICF is a relaxing and beautiful place to explore, with over four miles of birding trails that wind through restored prairies, wetlands, and oak savannas. It also remains the only place in the world to view all 15 majestic crane species.

“Spring is a great time to visit ICF. Many of our crane pairs on display are building nests and some are even incubating. Cranes are dedicated, thoughtful parents, and our Mother’s Day event is a fun way to connect people and cranes,” Kate Fitzwilliams, Marketing and PR Specialist said.

One of five captive breeding facilities raising endangered Whooping Cranes for release into the wild, ICF takes its crane parenting role very seriously. All done behind-the-scenes, ICF  already has 18 Whooping Crane eggs, and Head Egg Incubator, Kelly Maguire, is ready for her 19th egg season.

“After 19 years, I still look forward to egg season. Each egg is different and they all need special care and attention.  Due to the late spring, we are looking at the end of May for our first hatch,” Maguire said. “Experiencing a Whooping Crane chick hatching is always exciting for me” (view our video to see Kelly at work).

From late May through July, ICF’s Crane Chick Cam will share the Whooping Crane reintroduction story live on the web as we follow the 2013 Whooping Crane chicks. The chicks are raised by trained ICF staff wearing crane costumes, which are designed to hide the human form in order to prevent the birds from imprinting on people.

On May 14 from 11:30 – noon CDT, Maguire will be hosting our first Crane Chick Cam live chat and will answer questions about incubation and hatching. Future “Chick Chats” are scheduled for June 11 and June 25. Click here to learn more and view the full chat schedule.

ICF is open daily April 15 – October 31, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and is located at E11376 Shady Lane Road, Baraboo. Click here to plan your visit or call 608-356-9462 ext. 121. Special thanks to the Antonia Foundation for making ICF’s web cam project possible.