Last Call for OM Merchandise!

You’ve no doubt heard the news that Operation Migration is closing. That means that the merchandise we have is IT! 

And THAT means you can’t procrastinate placing your order any longer, that is unless you are coming to this year’s CraneFest in Princeton, Wisconsin!

Here’s a link to our MARKETPLACE, and here’s a link to learn more about CRANEFEST

All orders will receive a free OM Lapel Pin and Refrigerator Magnet or other goodies (while supplies last)! 

Royal Rumble?

The “Royal Couple” consists of Whooping cranes 4-12 (M) and 3-14 (F) and they are the first pair to establish a territory and nest in White River Marsh. Their first nest occurred in 2017 and sadly, ended when a coyote predated it. Their second nest was built this past spring and it was so far out into the marsh we were not able to observe it with our camera so the only outcome we know is that they do not have a chick.

The last time they were observed in the White River Marsh area was in early April immediately after a late winter storm and prior to their retreat into the marsh to nest.

This past week these two were spotted by an ICF tracker in the same field as 5-12 (m) aka “Henry” and his mate 67-15 aka “Patty”. Corn had recently been removed from the field and this foursome, along with several Sandhill cranes were helping to clean up the spilled corn.

The two pairs didn’t seem to terribly mind the presence of each other and there was no visible sparring or threat posturing observed.

Luckily for us, they were all present again yesterday morning so we drove over to get some photos, along with Doug and Mako Pellerin who had just treated us to a feast consisting of Mako’s famous eggrolls.

Enjoy!

From left to right: #4-12, #67-15, #3-14 & 5-12. Photo: Doug Pellerin

It appears Henry and Patty have convinced 4-12 & 3-14 to move along. Photo: Doug Pellerin

Henry (5-12) shows off for Patty (67-15). This was more of a show for the other pair than his mate. Photo: Heather Ray

Nevertheless Patty joins in on the dancing. Photo: Heather Ray

Don’t forget to place your best bid on your favorite item in our online auction! Bidding closes tomorrow at noon eastern.

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Get Your RAFFLE Tickets!

For the past couple of years, a very generous, local resident has made birdhouses for our staff to create our own masterpieces from.

This has become a popular fundraiser for Operation Migration and we are forever grateful to Cal Holland for making this opportunity available to us. 

Once again our staff has created some amazing bird houses and you will have the opportunity to own one or more. Bird houses, designed by Colleen Chase, Bev Paulan & Brooke Pennypacker, Chris Danilko, Jo-Anne Bellemer and Heather Ray are available in our Facebook auction NOW and until this Saturday, Sept. 22nd at noon eastern.

You’ll notice there is one artists name missing from the list above, and that would be Joe Duff. Joe went way above and beyond this year with his design and we want to make certain everyone has an opportunity to take it home. 

Here is Joe’s incredible bird house. Get your tickets today!

We’re running a raffle, which was held at both at the Princeton Whooping Crane Festival, which ran last week and online. To purchase tickets through our website click this link. Raffle tickets are sold in sets of 5 for $5.

All tickets will be combined and a winning name will be drawn October 1st and the winner will be notified by email/telephone before your masterpiece is shipped to them.

Get your RAFFLE TICKETS SOON!

 

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Princeton, WI Flea Market

Make plans to attend the Princeton Flea Market this Saturday and bring your appetite to the food booth in the center of the park!

The Whooping Crane Festival committee will be serving up brats, burgers, cheeseburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, cold beverages, coffee and donuts. This is a FUNdraising event for next year’s Crane Festival – that’s right! The Crane Festival lives on!

Hope to see you there!

Place YOUR Bids!

Our annual online auction is now LIVE and ready for viewing and bidding!

Just click this Facebook link to jump over to the auction album.

Bidding is easy – just add a comment with your bid amount on the item you want. Bidding got underway Sept. 11 and will continue until Sept. 22nd at noon ET. Winners will be notified via Facebook messenger or email/telephone.

Please note the Facebook timestamp will be used to determine bid-placed time. 

The timestamp accompanies each bid and is down to the minute. To determine seconds, bids are placed chronologically. If 3 bids are placed at the same hour/min, the first of the 3 is the earliest.

Each item has a minimum bid, which has been determined to be the USPS mailing/packaging costs to ship the item to the winning bidder. All net proceeds will cover Operation Migration expenses incurred in 2018. 

Which is your favorite item?

Payments can be made via credit card or check made payable to Operation Migration once you have been notified you are the winning bidder. Your item will be shipped once payment is received.

Non-facebook users can view all items via this link but to place a bid, you will have to create a Facebook account. 

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Whoopers in Winnebago Co., IL

Two yearling Whooping cranes surfaced in Winnebago Co., IL last week much to the delight of a property owner who had been wondering if his conservation-minded land improvements were having an impact on wildlife.

Cranes 1-17 & 2-17 have been in a somewhat inaccessible area nearby for several weeks but recently, they have come out to forage. 

Local photographer John Longhenry captured a few photos of the two and allowed us to share them with you.

Whooping Cranes observed feeding at a private residence in NW Winnebago County, IL. Photo: John Longhenry

Yearling Whooping cranes 1-17 & 2-17 in Winnebago County, IL. Photo: John Longhenry

 

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Final Volunteer of the Year Recognized

One of the things we look forward to each year is recognizing a special individual who gives the gift of time to Operation Migration. The presentation at our Festival Kick-off dinner last week was extra special because it will be our last-ever Volunteer of the Year award.

We are thrilled, to this year honor someone who first came to the organization in 2014. This person, very quickly, made friends with CraneCam viewers and the Craniacs on our social media channels and over the next couple of years, absorbed facts and knowledge like a sponge.

They began sharing that knowledge on both our CraneCam chat and through the Crane Chicklets Facebook page and I’m sure those familiar with the Chicklets page, will confirm that she picked up their language very quickly. (Have you guessed who it is?)

By 2017, she filled in on the “chattery” for many hours each day and controlled the pan, tilt and zoom on the camera, ensuring there was always something interesting for other viewers. This talent, combined with her rapier wit made for some incredibly interesting – and informative – chat sessions.

Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless but because they are priceless. We at OM know that you chose to volunteer selflessly and without expectation of being recognized or rewarded, but today, we want to do just that.

Please help me to congratulate Operation Migration’s FINAL Volunteer of the year – Cathy Fouche! 

Congratulations Cat! Very well deserved!

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Operation Migration Resigns From WCEP – Dissolves Organization

Operation Migration took flight 25 years ago when two artists-turned-aviators developed a method of teaching birds a new migratory route. The innovative approach helped stabilize the dwindling population of the magnificent Whooping crane.

Bill Lishman and Joe Duff developed the aircraft-guided migration method into an effective means of reintroducing endangered Whooping cranes into an area they had not inhabited in over a century.

Our first migration flight leading Whooping cranes occurred in 2001 – shortly after the 9-11 attack on the United States. It was a time when the nation needed an uplifting story; one of ordinary people working to save an endangered, North American species.

For 15 years, Operation Migration pilots and a dedicated ground crew led Whooping cranes on a journey toward survival. During those years, we contributed more than $10 million dollars and covered 17,457 miles with a total of 186 trusting Whooping cranes trailing off our wingtips.

Each of the cranes that survived the winter period in Florida returned north the following spring, and continued to migrate annually thereafter. Gradually, the number of cranes began to increase, giving hope for the species, which in the 1940s numbered only 15.

The aircraft-guided migration method was ended in the fall of 2015 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a document titled “FWS Vision for the Next 5-year Strategic Plan” that claimed the method was “too artificial.” They suggested that cranes raised by our costumed handlers resulted in inattentive parents that did not adequately protect their offspring.

We continued work for another 3 years based upon our belief that the goal of a self-sustaining Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping cranes was attainable. However, with new management directives authorized by the Whooping Crane Recovery Team and implemented by Region 3 of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we no longer believe this goal to be achievable.

As a result, we cannot continue, in good faith, to accept contributions or justify assigning our staff and volunteers to carry out the work outlined in the strategic plan imposed on the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

This led us to an extremely difficult decision: The management and Board of Directors are withdrawing Operation Migration from membership and participation in WCEP and dissolving the organization. This decision is heartbreaking for us all but we have exhausted all possible avenues to avoid this outcome.

Supporters from around the world have generously contributed to Operation Migration’s aircraft-guided work, its successful costume-rearing program, and education and research efforts, all of which have contributed to the recovery of Whooping crane. When our work began there were fewer than 500 Whooping cranes in North America. Today, the species total stands at more than 700 – a significant part of the increase is attributable to your help.

While disappointed that we were unable to achieve our long-term goal to establish a self-sustaining Whooping crane population, we take great pride in Operation Migration’s accomplishments, which your support and time helped to make possible:

  • Hundreds of thousands of people are more aware of the plight of Whooping cranes and wetlands thanks to our blog posts for the past 19 years;
  • Our partnership with Journey North, a distance learning program, brought information about Whooping cranes to millions of school-aged children worldwide;
  • We hosted the first-ever LIVE streaming camera featuring wild Whooping cranes; 
  • We raised awareness for the Whooping crane and gained global attention for the efforts to save them through the aircraft-guided program for 15 years. Our work was featured in numerous news stories, documentaries and published in many books and magazines that inspired people to care about, and take action for these vulnerable cranes;
  • The reintroduced Whooping cranes are avoiding humans, selecting proper habitat, pairing with other Whooping cranes and are producing offspring;
  • Aircraft used in our work are now on display at three distinguished locations: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), as reminders that people can take innovative action to help wildlife species in trouble;
  • Operation Migration contributed images to numerous educational textbooks over the past 20 years to help tell the story of Whooping cranes to students of all ages;
  • Our work garnered the attention and support of President Jimmy Carter and noted conservationist Jane Goodall.

We are grateful for the awards we have received over the years, which include:

  • 2002 National Wildlife Federation “Conservation Achievement Award;
  • 2003 Canada Post “Canadian Environmental Award”;
  • 2004 The Whooping Crane Conservation Association “Honor Award”;
  • 2006 American Birding Association, Partners in Flight “Outstanding Contribution to Bird Conservation”;
  • 2009 U.S. Dept. Of The Interior “Partners in Conservation Award”.

So many accomplishments, and all achieved with your help. We want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all Operation Migration members, supporters, volunteers, and staff (past and present).

Your financial and emotional support kept us going more than you will ever know during many stressful and trying periods over the past 18 years of this reintroduction project. You have been like family to us.

There would not be Whooping cranes migrating over eastern North America without your support.

Online Auction!

Our annual online auction is now LIVE and ready for viewing and bidding!

Just click this Facebook link to jump over to the auction album.

Bidding is easy – just add a comment with your bid amount on the item you want. Bidding got underway Sept. 11 and will continue until Sept. 22nd at noon ET. Winners will be notified via Facebook messenger or email/telephone.

Please note the Facebook timestamp will be used to determine bid-placed time. 

The timestamp accompanies each bid and is down to the minute. To determine seconds, bids are placed chronologically. If 3 bids are placed at the same hour/min, the first of the 3 is the earliest.

Each item has a minimum bid, which has been determined to be the USPS mailing/packaging costs to ship the item to the winning bidder. All net proceeds will cover Operation Migration expenses incurred in 2018. 

Payments can be made via credit card or check made payable to Operation Migration once you have been notified you are the winning bidder. Your item will be shipped once payment is received.

Non-facebook users can view all items via this link but to place a bid, you will have to create a Facebook account. 

Preview of just a few of the items available.

It’s AUCTION Time!

Our annual online auction is now LIVE and ready for viewing and bidding!

Just click this Facebook link to jump over to the auction album.

Bidding is easy – just add a comment with your bid amount on the item you want. Bidding will run from Sept. 11 to Sept. 22nd at noon ET. Winners will be notified via Facebook messenger or email/telephone.

Please note the Facebook timestamp will be used to determine bid-placed time. 

The timestamp accompanies each bid and is down to the minute. To determine seconds, bids are placed chronologically. If 3 bids are placed at the same hour/min, the first of the 3 is the earliest.

Each item has a minimum bid, which has been determined to be the USPS mailing/packaging costs to ship the item to the winning bidder. All net proceeds will cover Operation Migration expenses incurred in 2018. 

Payments can be made via credit card or check made payable to Operation Migration once you have been notified you are the winning bidder. Your item will be shipped once payment is received.

Non-facebook users can view all items via this link but to place a bid, you will have to create a Facebook account. 

Preview of just a few of the items available.

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Bird House RAFFLE!

For the past couple of years, a very generous, local resident has made birdhouses for our staff to create our own masterpieces from.

This has become a popular fundraiser for Operation Migration and we are forever grateful to Cal Holland for making this opportunity available to us. 

Once again our staff has created some amazing bird houses and you will have the opportunity to own one or more. Bird houses, designed by Colleen Chase, Bev Paulan & Brooke Pennypacker, Chris Danilko, Jo-Anne Bellemer and Heather Ray will be available in our Facebook auction, which gets underway TODAY and runs to September 22nd. 

You’ll notice there is one artists name missing from the list above, and that would be Joe Duff. Joe went way above and beyond this year with his design and we want to make certain everyone has an opportunity to take it home. 

Here is Joe’s incredible bird house. Get your tickets today!

We’re running a raffle, which will be held both at the Princeton Whooping Crane Festival, which gets underway this evening and continues all weekend, and online. People can purchase tickets in person, OR through our website. Raffle tickets are sold in sets of 5 for $5.

All tickets will be combined and a winning name will be drawn October 1st and the winner will be notified by email/telephone before your masterpiece is shipped to them.

Get your RAFFLE TICKETS SOON!

 

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Glass Blowing Demonstration

One of the events we added to this year’s festival line-up was a glass blowing demonstration by local artist Wes Hunting. 

Wes, and his son Wes Jr. create stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces that are incredibly beautiful.

To learn more about them, please have a look at their website and this documentary video: http://weshuntingglass.com/documentary/ OR if you’re in the area, visit their gallery in downtown Princeton.

Here are a couple photos of the piece they made while we were there Sunday morning. Scroll down to see the finished product, which had to cool overnight before revealing its true beauty.

It was fascinating to watch the entire process from start-to-finish.

Almost finished! Wes Jr. is in position to catch the vessel when his Dad cuts it loose from the metal rod.

Ta Da! Isn’t it stunning?

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Water, Water Everywhere!

Wisconsin received more than its fair share of rain in late August and early September and the evidence can be seen in Princeton, and surrounding areas.

Approximately 10 inches of water covers White River Rd. in numerous places.

In Princeton, the Fox River is encroaching onto some roads and into businesses and homes on the main street.

 The good news is there is no significant rainfall in the foreseeable forecast. 

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