Media contact: Andy Bingle, 608-356-9462 ext. 127
Baraboo, WI – The International Crane Foundation is holding the North American Cranes Festival on Saturday, July 1, to celebrate the two species of cranes that call North America their home, Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes.
Sandhill Cranes might just be one of the oldest known bird species still surviving. A crane fossil found in Nebraska from the Pliocene period, 5.3-2.6 million years ago, is structurally identical to the modern Sandhill Crane. Once rare in Wisconsin, Sandhill Cranes are now thriving and are a symbol of species recovery. Visitors to the International Crane Foundation may witness the Sandhill Crane pair engaging in unison calling, a complex and extended series of coordinated calls only done by a mated pair. While calling, cranes stand in an upright posture, usually with their heads thrown back and beaks skyward.
Whooping Cranes are one of the rarest birds in North America and can be viewed at the International Crane Foundation’s celebrated Whooping Crane Exhibit. Presentations by expert staff will highlight the fragile recovery of this endangered bird and engage the public in efforts on their behalf. Back from the brink of extinction, Whooping Cranes are making a steady comeback from a low of only 21 individuals in the wild in the 1940s, to just over 600 birds today. This number includes both captive and wild Whooping Cranes. Named for their loud and distinctive calls, Whooping Cranes once lived throughout much of North America. With a wingspan of up to 8 feet and standing at 5 feet, they are the tallest flying bird in North America. The Whooping Crane’s recovery is one of conservation’s most inspiring stories.
Visitors to the North American Cranes Festival will be able to join several tours taking place throughout the day. Tours will include the Prairie Restoration Tour at 9:30 a.m., Cranes of the World Tour at 10 a.m., North American Cranes Tour at 1 p.m. and a Whooping Crane Tour at 3 p.m. Craft tables for children of all ages will be offered from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Hope, our larger than life Whooping Crane mascot, will be on our site from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Click here to plan your visit!