We first met Doug Pellerin early on in the project at the observation tower at Necedah NWR. He had an impressive camera and a keen interest in Whooping cranes and both those attributes got my attention. We have become friends over the years and his involvement has grown from watching the birds through his lens to watching them through the visor of a crane costume.
When we moved to White River Marsh, Doug was first to volunteer to build the pens and cut the grass. He worked hard for a week when we were down to the wire getting everything ready before the birds arrived. He even recruited his son who spent many hours walking behind a brutish, bucking bush-hog cutting through shoulder-high giant blue stem.
Every spring since, Doug shows up to help us run the water hoses and pull on the top nets. Back when we were still using the aircraft release method, He would drive for over an hour in the dark to get to the training site before sunrise and help release the birds. Doug coordinates access to the observation blind and talks to all the visitors and has become a tried and true Craniac. He and his wife Mako have dedicated countless hours to this project and we are forever grateful.
Doug is now part of our tracking team and that takes him down the back roads and lane-ways of central Wisconsin where his camera has captured amazing photos. He has become a talented nature photographer with images that you would expect to see in National Geographic or Birdwatching Magazine.
I asked Doug to share a few of his favorite photographs so we could highlight one of the many talents he brings to conservation. THANK YOU DOUG FOR ALL YOU DO FOR WHOOPING CRANES. And thanks for sharing these images.