Whooping crane!


I didn’t see this in the wild but at the International Crane Federation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. I decided of all the sights I could see around Madison, the crane refuge was the rarest. So I drove the fifty miles to the outskirts of Baraboo, where the ICF has 250 acres to conduct research and find new ways to protect cranes and increase their number. The foundation has about a dozen species of cranes on display and a large area closed to the public where their cranes can breed unmolested.

Whooping cranes are one of the great success stories of our conservation. At one time, in the 1930s or 1940s, the population was down to about 22 birds. Their place is not yet secure but now there are about 250 of the big birds.

I took this photograph of a whooping crane wading in its one-acre enclosure this afternoon. It was a thrill for me to spend half an hour watching the whooping cranes.

Here’s the approximate route from Madison to Bariboo. It’s hard to get Mapquest to go to an intesection.

Here’s the aerial view of the route, showing Wisconsin as the deep green, fractally folded land I knew it must be:

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