Crane chicks always cause a bit of a stir, but one in particular is making waves among Wisconsinites near its home in the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and with craniacs everywhere. Affectionately named “Whoopsie,” the chick is a hybrid of a male Whooping Crane and a female Sandhill Crane. With all the excitement around this unusual mix comes much curiosity. Read on for answers to your most pressing “Whoophill” questions!
I encountered my first Sandhill Crane in the spring of 1973. As a first-year graduate student and an ornithology teaching assistant, I was weak at the knees with my inexperience, yet loving every minute. George Archibald and Ron Sauey, recently of Cornell University, were just establishing the International Crane Foundation on the northern outskirts of Baraboo, WI.
As cranes flock back to the Midwest from their wintering grounds in the south, the International Crane Foundation is seeking volunteers to participate in the 40th Annual Midwest Crane Count. Over 2,000 volunteers participate in the annual spring crane survey, which gathers information on the abundance and distribution of cranes in the upper Midwest.
Can you imagine seeing seven of the world’s 15 species of cranes in one morning? There is only one place on earth where this has ever happened, a most remarkable, and most threatened, place – the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that divides the hostile Korean peninsula.
It has been a time of reflection and celebration in the world of cranes and craniacs. We commemorated the 100-year passing of the last passenger pigeon, once the most abundant bird in North America, with a strong reminder that extinction is forever and the conservation stakes have never been higher.
Can you imagine seeing seven species of cranes in one morning?!? Today our group visited the remarkable Cheorwon basin of South Korea near the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean peninsula. Cheorwon is renowned for the large concentrations of wintering Red-crowned and White-naped Cranes that feed on waste grain in this agricultural landscape – one of the very best places to see these two endangered species.
A proposed project to re-route Sacramento River water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to southern California has created controversy about the project’s impact on wildlife habitat, including critical wintering areas for Sandhill Cranes. Since 2010, ICF Research Associate Gary Ivey has been a sub-consultant on the project, providing research data and recommendations to help lessen the impact on cranes and their habitats.
What can you do to make a difference? Get informed and support ICF’s global conservation programs! From discussions on coastal water resources in Texas and crane hunting in the eastern United States, to creating awareness of illegal African crane trade or water quality in southeastern China, ICF is making its voice heard across the world. Following are four global snapshots of ICF in Action.
Each week this winter, ICF’s aviculturists provided our captive crane flock with regular sources of environmental enrichment. Zoos around the world provide enrichment for their animals to help maintain both their physical and psychological health.
When I think about the conservation challenges we face in the coming century, my thoughts invariably turn to food, water, and energy. How will we feed 9 billion people and still maintain healthy landscapes for cranes and other life we hold dear? How will we water thirsty cities and farmlands without sacrificing life-supporting rivers and wetlands? Can we meet the global demand for electricity without devastating our land, water, air…and climate?