Anger, Frustration, Impotence.

How do I describe the emotions I felt over the past two years. Every time I visited the Operation Migration website I was met with another horrid headline:




I can only imagine the heartbreak of everyone who’s worked and donated towards the introduction of the eastern flock. I couldn’t help the waves of hopelessness that washed over me.

“Whats the point? People are idiots. There’s no chance for this flock if the mentality of so many doesn’t change.”

To call these events frustrating is the understatement of the project. When so many of us give so much and pour so many hours of our lives into a single bird only for some troglodyte to kill it is…disheartening to say the least.

I couldn’t help thinking of Sisyphus, the Greek king. In the mythology Sisyphus is punished for eternity by rolling a boulder uphill. Only for the boulder to come tumbling down upon reaching the summit. Those in WCEP invest months of the year, hours of frustration and buckets of sweat into each and every bird. After all this, we still have to be slapped in the face with headlines of dead Whoopers.

All spring, summer and fall those involved are rolling the birds’ survival uphill. And every time we lose one it feels like the boulder, like an inevitable tide of ignorance, comes tumbling down on us.

Unlike the mythology however, I believe we will eventually get that boulder rolling uphill and over the summit. A self sustaining flock is possible, even with all the aggression the birds encounter from faceless individuals. I believe this because I have seen and met so many of you that give so much of yourselves to the Whooping Crane project. I know there is a chance with so many of you supporting OM and WCEP.

Now that I got that out of my system. Its good to be back everyone. Im looking forward to introducing some new healthy Whoopers into the eastern flock this year and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends.

Ed. Note: WELCOME BACK CALEB! We’re thrilled to work with you again!

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  1. Christy May 23, 2014 9:30 pm

    Welcome back, Caleb.

  2. Mindy Finklea May 18, 2014 4:19 pm

    Caleb’s comments remind me of the little dung beetle I saw on a TV special the other day about the Sahara Desert. The beetle sees camel dung as “gold” and rolls a ball of it and proceeds to take it back to it’s abode but along the way, loses the ball to a sand dune and the precious ball of dung rolls all the way down with the little beetle hot on it’s trail. He retrieves the dung and rolls it backwards with his hind legs, back up the hill, but because he cannot see the pitfalls along the way in front of him, he runs into rocks, stems, etc. on the way up, loses the ball again and it rolls down again, then again, then again. over and over. Every time he picks it up at the bottom and starts up again. So frustrating yet so worth it if he finally makes it home with his prize. So it is with the Whoopers…..The pitfalls along the way to successful migration and establishment of the Eastern flock are many. Accidents, stupid people, power lines, predators, etc. But dedicated people just keep going again and again…..And what a prize when the flock is finally over that hill and going strong! …..Even one precious Whooper that survives is worth it….Never give up hope…..God bless OM

  3. Mary W-D May 14, 2014 1:42 pm

    Delighted to have you back Caleb. Here’s hoping this is a wildly successful year for the eastern migratory population! Thank you for your contribution to the effort. Hooray for the persevering craniacs!

  4. Jo May 14, 2014 10:58 am

    Welcome back and I hope to meet you this year.
    As to you thoughts and frustrations, I completely agree and I hear you saying that the world is a better place for the existence of the spirit of the effort. Success is wonderful, but it is the effort that is inspiring.

  5. Cheryl Nichol May 14, 2014 9:11 am

    Welcome back, Caleb!

  6. Babs – WA May 13, 2014 10:02 pm

    Let the dancing begin!!!

    Welcome back, Caleb!!

  7. Claire DeLand May 13, 2014 6:52 pm

    Ah, Caleb!!!

    How glad I am to see you back in the flock!!!

    I share so many of your feelings about logging on only to find bad news about another tragic happening to one (or more) of our “kids”. I’m just one of those who serves by “sitting and waiting” and doing what little I can in the face of the uphil climb, so I know I don’t really know how any of you feel for sure, but I certainly resonate at a deep level to what you say here.

    That we have some “mountains to move” is not really debatable, but I never doubt the love of all concerned for the “task” and I don’t just “think I can” like the little train in the children’s story. I KNOW that WE can do it.

    Can’t wait to see you at the pen – – – and at Crane Fest 2014. I’m so glad you’re back!!!

    Whoop! Whoop!

  8. cgull May 13, 2014 4:13 pm

    We all share your frustrations. Let’s try to think of ways to educate the public about the precarious position the whooping crane is in and hopefully some of the senseless killing will stop. Let’s all keep on giving a WHOOP and persevering and succeeding with the eastern whooper flock. Then we can say, “No, Sisyphus around here!”

  9. Barbara Neibrand May 13, 2014 2:41 pm

    A little birdie told me that you were coming back a few weeks ago. That was very happy news as I (as well as a lot of other people) have missed you. Yes, this world is populated with a lot of idiots, but thankfully there are more in it that care than those that don’t.

  10. Margie Tomlinson May 13, 2014 11:48 am

    WELCOME BACK, CALEB!!! So glad to have you join us again! With all your past experience with the birdies, I think this year’s class will do very well. Will you serenade us again with your song about #2-11 (“Amelia”) – maybe at Crane Festival? ((<3))

  11. Lori (loriearn) May 13, 2014 11:37 am

    Welcome back Caleb! Your words speak so eloquently what we are all thinking and feeling. And the frustration that no one is turning in these troglodytes is even more disheartening.

    Another season is about to begin, and we all start with one step, hoping more people follow along our path, spreading the word of this magnificent bird.

    I know I am only one of so many, but I cannot wait to see the pen get it’s spring cleaning and the chicks & tumes arrive to begin another season of live entertainment! lol

  12. Chix Laces May 13, 2014 9:45 am

    How delightful to have you back in the flock. Welcome back, Caleb.

  13. Beth Lauxen May 13, 2014 9:42 am

    Great article that expresses just how I’ve been feeling.

    So excited to have you back Caleb!

  14. marje lloyd May 13, 2014 7:51 am

    welcome back Caleb, , like you us craniacs have felt heartbreak over the senseless loss of our precious burds.
    let the season begin!

  15. Warrenwesternpa May 13, 2014 6:45 am

    13 May 2014 Anger, Frustration, Impotence: Caleb Fairfax

    We all share your thoughts and are glad to have you with us again.We understand your rant and all I could think of is a favorite hymn, if you don’t mind!

    It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around, can warm up in the glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it. You’ll spread his love,to everyone, you’ll want to pass it on.

    What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding. The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming. That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it. You’ll want to sing, it’s fresh like spring, You’ll want to pass it on.

    There are two more verses but I’m sure you get the point. Pass on to others, all the knowledge you have gained and help prepare another cohort of Whoopers. Welcome back our friend and have a great summer season!