Final Thoughts…

Guest Author: David Sakrison

In 2005, Terry Kohler, a Wisconsin conservationist and philanthropist hired me, an aviation journalist, to write a book about his participation in three avian recovery projects, trumpeter swans, Siberian cranes, and whooping cranes. Over the next two years, I interviewed people at the cutting edge of whooping crane recovery – George Archibald, Tom Stehn, John French, Kent Clegg, Joe Duff, and others. And their passion rubbed off on me. I became a card-carrying Craniac.

When OM moved its field operations from Necedah to White River Marsh, just 20 miles from my home, I had the privilege of working alongside Joe, Heather Ray, and others, helping to build the whooper’s new home in record time. When I was asked to join the board of OM, I needed no push.

It has been my honor and privilege to play a small part in this unique endeavor, to work with and to know as friends a group of people who are so passionate and so dedicated to a cause greater than themselves. I will sorely miss it.

But more important, the survival of the Eastern Migratory Population of whoopers is far from assured. Despite all that OM and its supporters have done to reintroduce this majestic bird to the eastern U.S., the flock may not endure, lost to indifference? neglect? from the powers that be.

The decision by OM’s board and staff to cease operations was difficult and heartbreaking. But in the end, it was the only ethical choice. It is my fervent hope that WCEP & FWS may yet give full support to the Eastern Migratory Flock, that the introduction of captive-bred whoopers into the wild will again outpace the flock’s attrition, and that my grandchildren and their grandchildren will still hear the whooper’s ancient, haunting call in eastern skies.

For the birds,

–David Sakrison, Ripon, WI

  Late of the board of directors of Operation Migration

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  1. Catherine Wohlfeil December 26, 2018 9:30 pm

    The power of your writing endures and is reflected in the eyes of not only the cranes, but the people who gaze upward at their noble flight. Some say that words alone cannot rescue a species, however, words, in their very nature, hold the power to inspire. May you continue in your efforts to save these blessed birds so that we who reside on this planet may always be blessed by their presence.

  2. Cheryl Murphy December 26, 2018 4:19 pm

    Thank you for your work and dedication. OM’s work on behalf of the beautiful whooping cranes will long be remembered and appreciated. Many of us feel the loss of this wonderful organization and it’s dedicated staff and volunteers.

  3. Jane Maher December 26, 2018 10:26 am

    Thank you, David. I share your fears and your hope.

  4. Faye Pittman December 26, 2018 8:45 am

    Thank you Mr. Sakrison for your contributions of time and knowledge on the valiant fight for the survival of this magnificent bird, which we must continue. (Perhaps the ‘powers that be’ will soon be powerless, and renewed efforts can continue.) You definitely have been associating in ‘high society’ with the names mentioned and are fortunate to have made their acquaintance. Best to you, and may all Craniacs continue to WHOOP for the whoopers!