Thank you very much for supporting our 2021 Bird-a-Thon. With your help, our two Bird-a-thon teams – The Craniacs and The Day Trippers – raised over $35,790 for crane conservation!
May 15 was a gorgeous, warm windless day ideal for birding. The Craniacs’ combined list of 158 species seen and/or heard from dawn until dark is below. It was a slow spring here in southern Wisconsin for birds, and many of our favorite warblers were still not back when we held our Bird-a-Thon this year, but we had many memorable moments. Here are a few…
The calls of Whip-poor-wills echoed off the bluffs of the Wisconsin River as we strolled in the dark listening for owls and other wildlife of the night. We were delighted to hear some of our secretive grassland birds, like Henslow’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, that call throughout the night.
A pair of magnificent Whooping Cranes on a wetland near Baraboo greeted the light with a trumpeting duet – their Unison Call – to proclaim their defended wetland real estate. Then they chased a lone female Whooping Crane that had come too close to the pond where the pair had nested.
Near a cliff where we had hoped to view a pair of Peregrine Falcons, we heard the melodious call of a Hooded Warbler. We followed it and were able to observe at close range this gorgeous male with an olive back, yellow breast, black head and neck with a bright yellow face. He continued to sing as we watched in awe while nearby high in the deciduous trees songs from the Scarlet Tanager and Indigo Bunting floated down.
In the Evening
At Horicon Marsh, a pair of Trumpeter Swans floated gracefully in a roadside wetland until another pair flew in, landed beside them and proceeded to chase them. Like the Whooping Cranes, undoubtedly this was a breeding pair of swans that were chasing intruders from their breeding territory. There was little resistance. As the intruders flew away, the victorious pair faced one another and engaged in a duet all the while fluttering their wings.
Thank you and happy birding,
George Archibald and Rich Beilfuss,
Co-Founder and President and CEO