With a full month left on the calendar until the official start of spring, it appears some of the Whooping Cranes in the EMP are eager to begin heading home to Wisconsin.
Craniacs Shelly Taliaferro and Cathy Fouche are on an epic road trip that began Saturday morning in Indiana. They made it to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Decatur, Alabama just in time to see thousands of Sandhill Cranes and 10 Whooping Cranes head off to roost.
Here are some of the Whoopers Shelly and Cathy found late afternoon on Saturday near the Refuge…
Cathy reports the next day there were perhaps half the number of Sandhill cranes still visible from the viewing blind and remote tracking data indicates some of the Whoopers also began heading north.
A hit from female crane #10-15 confirms she left on Sunday, February 18th and made it to Hopkins County, Kentucky by early evening. She is very likely traveling with her mate #4-13 and I’m anxious to see where this pair returns to in Wisconsin as late last year, they appeared to have established a territory fairly close to White River Marsh in Green Lake County.
While Whoopers aren’t considered to be of breeding age until they are 5 years old, it’s not unheard of for a 3 year old female to successfully breed so this pair may just have a nest this spring!
Huge thanks to Cathy Fouche and Shelly Taliaferro for sharing their road trip with us!