Small (crane) World

Those that have been following our work since the very early year will likely recall Sandy and Jerry Ulrikson, former volunteers. I’ve kept in touch with both of them over the years and Sandy recently reached out with a request.

Read in Sandy’s own words how this story played out…

As volunteer rescuers, today we received a call from the Wildlife Center of Venice to rescue an injured Sandhill Crane, from a golf course in Sarasota. We were able to rescue the crane and immediately noticed that it was wearing “leg jewelry”.

Having volunteered with Operation Migration on the Whooping Crane reintroduction program for several years, we recognized the “leg jewelry” as something significant. We contacted Heather Ray of Operation Migration for assistance in identifying the bands. 

We took the bird to the Wildlife Center of Venice for assessment and treatment because both of its legs were tangled in fishing line. The line had become so tight over a period of time that the circulation had been cut off to the right foot and the foot was “dead” and could not be saved. The right leg had less damaged but overall the prognosis for young crane was not great and sadly it died soon after being admitted for treatment.

As we researched the bands, we found out that the bird was banded by graduate student Jeff Fox at the University of Illinois on July 29, 2012 as part of his master’s degree research program. To prove what a small world it is, Jeff now works with Operation Migration on the Whooping Crane reintroduction program in Wisconsin ~small world.

Another fun day of “retired living” in sunny Florida… Please dispose of used fishing line responsibly to prevent this from happening again.

Share Button


  1. Mindy February 20, 2017 6:41 pm

    What a shame for this Sandie that his life ended in such a way…..and so preventable if people would be responsible for their lines…..Thank you for the reminder Heather. Interesting that it was Jeff who banded this bird….

  2. Jane Maher February 20, 2017 2:36 pm

    A sad but heart-warming story from the small world of precious cranes.

  3. Elsie Sealander February 20, 2017 2:14 pm

    Another sad story about how man-made objects can kill wildlife.

  4. Karen Anne February 20, 2017 1:45 pm

    Fishing line, string, those six pack plastic rings for beverage cans, Yoplait yogurt cups with that taper that traps animals heads, I never throw anything out without asking myself, could this harm an animal, and if the answer is yes I cut it apart so it’s not dangerous or I don’t buy it in the first place.

  5. Mollie Cook February 20, 2017 1:41 pm

    Interesting but sad that the Sandie didn’t make it. Small world indeed!
    Sorry to change the subject but are 31 & 38-16 still in Poinsett/Cross County AR?

  6. Dorothy N February 20, 2017 1:02 pm

    Sad ending, but Yay for the rescuers and Yay for Jeff Fox!!

  7. Ruth Mitchell February 20, 2017 10:34 am

    It IS a small world isn’t it…and unfortunately fishing line is a problem everywhere in that world!!! I am so proud of the work that a fellow volunteer of mine ( and her wonderful husband) have done with Raptor Resource Project ( A scientific research program, dealing with Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels and Bald Eagles that I volunteer with) has done….they have made Fishing Line Recycling Stations that have been placed in many locations all over the Midwest!!! All of us working together to be a voice for those who have no voice of their own!!!