Tis the Season… for STRESS?!

It’s that time of year again when we begin the scramble of trying to find just the perfect gift for those on our nice list.

I’ve decided I don’t need anything else to clutter my life and I certainly don’t need more stress, so instead, I’d prefer a donation to a cause I care about and I’m going to give donations to those causes my friends and family members care about.

Why not give a contribution which will make a difference to our environment? Whooping cranes need our help and for every donation you make in honor of someone special, we’ll send a card to them letting them know about your very thoughtful gift on their behalf.

In the “Donation Note:” section on the form, just fill in the name/address of the person you’re making the donation in honor of and we’ll make certain we get a card in the mail to them right away!

Why not give a gift to Whooping crane conservation this season?

Goose Pond, Indiana

This little gem in Greene County, Indiana is the quintessential example of “if you build it, they will come.” 

Indiana DNR purchased the property in 2005 with the help of The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Indiana Department of Transportation, United States Fish & Wildlife Service and many other organizations. Prior to acquisition, the previous landowner entered into a permanent easement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This permanent easement was part of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and consisted of 7,200 acres. NRCS then assumed responsibility for the wetland restoration.

Since then numerous Whooping cranes use the property, either when they’re passing through, or now that weather patterns are changing, a number stay for the entire winter season. At last count (a week ago) there were twenty Whooping cranes in the area.

Plan your visit

Recently, someone brought some photos to my attention and I reached out to the photographer who agreed to share them with you.

Many thanks to Brian Killion for the fantastic photography!

Two male Whooping cranes at Goose Pond. Number’s 18-03 and 38-09. Photo: Brian Killion

Two pairs include: #W3-10 and #8-04 along with #9-05 and #13-03. Photo: Brian Killion

Female #32-09 and male #19-10 in flight. Photo: Brian Killion

FOUND

Your chanting worked and a GSM email for #2-17 came in late evening yesterday!

From it we learned the trio flew to a new (for them) wetland in neighboring Marquette County. This is roughly 10 miles from White River Marsh.

Colleen and Brooke were able to confirm all three are together.

Soooo, at least they moved? The other positive is that there are hundreds of Sandhill cranes were they are now!

MISSING

Or are they?

If you read Joe’s post this morning, you’ll know that whooping cranes 4-17 and 6-17 were captured and relocated yesterday in an attempt to further disrupt the social structure of the Costume-Reared cohort.

Colleen reports the 3 remaining cranes at White River Marsh were present and accounted for this morning – up until 10:40 am that is….

She and Brooke have checked all the usual spots and beyond and cannot detect ANY beeps for #’s 1, 2 or 8-17 – the remaining three cranes.

I’m pretty sure Colleen has been staring at the email on her phone – silently willing #2-17’s GSM device to fire off an email so we’ll know for sure… Maybe everyone out there reading this can starting chanting 2-17, 2-17, 2-17.

We’ll let you know as soon as we know for sure but it appears the trio MAY have begun heading south!

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Plan A – Option II

Brooke and Colleen have been dividing their time between monitoring the five remaining Whooping crane chicks at White River and looking for Sandhill cranes that might prompt them to move south. Except for the occasional few flying overhead, most of their smaller cousins have moved south. And when we say south, we mean only a few miles. Down around Baraboo on the Wisconsin River there are still flocks of a few hundred and it was with those gatherings that we released number 3 and 7-17 last week. They seemed to have taken the hint and are now in Fulton County, Illinois.

In the interim, the five remaining birds haven’t changed their behavior much. They’re still using the same few foraging fields and roosting in good habitat but they are not showing indications that they are about to migrate. Mind you, I am not sure what those indications might be. It’s not like they packed their bags or made reservations and for that matter, they could leave today. Still, it’s time again to be proactive.

Based on the good outcome of the last relocation, Brooke and Colleen captured Whooping cranes #4-17 and 6-17 early yesterday morning and headed to the Wisconsin River in Sauk County. Because the Sandhill numbers are changing daily as they move south, Anne Lacy from the International Crane Foundation checked the release location before the capture.

All of this was decided by the Rearing and Release Team on a Monday afternoon conference call. We also decided to leave three of the chicks at White River. The weather is predicted to be warm for the next week at least, which we hope will give them an opportunity to meet up with a few transient Sandhills or maybe just follow their instincts and head south.

On that conference call, many options were considered. We thought about taking them all to Sauk County but the original premise behind the costume-reared cohort was to ensure that the birds were familiar with the area around White River so they would return. Leaving three behind keeps that study option open and it will also indicate if breaking up the dominance structure worked. We are confident that the chicks we moved to Sauk County we be able to close the gap in their migration knowledge and make it back to White River and that too will be part of the learning process.

The RRT will meet again in early December. By then we suspect all the birds will have headed south. If not, we will move to Plan B. We have teams in place if any or all the birds need to be relocated. The most likely release option would be Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene County, Indiana. At last report, there were 19 Whooping cranes using that wonderful wetland complex and our remaining chicks are sure to find some friends.

Whooping crane #6-17 (left) and 4-17 emerge from the crates and have a look around. Photo: Sabine Berzins, International Crane Foundation

Notice all the Sandhills in the distance? Photo: Sabine Berzins, International Crane Foundation

Cranes 4-17 and 6-17 walked out to join the Sandhill cranes. Photo: Sabine Berzins, International Crane Foundation

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#GivingTuesday

GIVINGTUESDAY

Everyone is aware of Black Friday and Cyber Monday but did you know that Tuesday after the U.S. Thanksgiving day is #GivingTuesday?

The purpose of #GivingTuesday is to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to give back in meaningful ways to the charities and causes they support.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

We need your help NOW more than ever.

Donations are down over the past couple of years, since we no longer use aircraft to guide whooping cranes south. 

We want to assure you, we are still here and we’re still working to safeguard this incredible bird and to build the Eastern Migratory Population. 

So on this #GivingTuesday why not take advantage of the Double Dollar Donation campaign, which is currently running? For your $50 (or more) donation, you get to select a lovely scarf which features a Duff Doodle of a crane in flight. These make great gifts for that special Craniac in your life. And as if that isn’t already enough? Your donation will be DOUBLED by a generous supporter who has committed $25000 in matching funds!

You can also call us here at the office 800-675-2618 and Chris, Joe or I will be more than happy to help out. Finally, if you would prefer to send a check, our mailing address is below.

We hope you’ll consider continuing your support of whooping cranes on this 2017 #GIVINGTUESDAY.

Operation Migration – USA 1623 Military Rd., PMB# 639 Niagara Falls, NY 14304-1745 

Operation Migration – 6A High St., Port Perry, ON L9L 1H8

Everyone who contributes will receive access to some beautiful monthly calendar images featuring cranes. These photos were captured over the past year of working with these incredible birds. Your secret url will be included in the emailed receipt, which will be sent to you when you make your donation. 

Each month is available in four sizes so that you can select the best fit for your screen. Here’s a preview of the 2018 photos!

All donors will receive access to these desktop calendar photos.

Will you help?

And They’re OFF!

As Joe explained on Friday, two of the costume-reared whooping cranes were captured and relocated to an area along the Wisconsin River in Sauk County last week. 

Cranes 3-17 and 7-17 were released near a large group of Sandhills and immediately flew to join the group.

On Saturday, it seems they took advantage of the north winds and began heading south!

We received hits from #7-17’s remote tracking device, which indicates she – (and we assume #3-17 as he does not have a remote device) – made it approximately 190 miles to Fulton, County, Illinois.

Screen grab showing the hits from 7-17’s remote tracking device. Source: Google Earth

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Lessons Learned

You only have to attend a few meetings as a new member of any committee or club before you understand where you fit into their social order. It doesn’t take long before you learn who the workers are, who is leading them — and who wants to be. That same hierarchy exist in avian societies just as it does in our human groups, otherwise we wouldn’t call it a “pecking order.” I wish we had the same quick insight into the dominance structure that exists in any cohort of Whooping cranes, but in bird culture, the leaders and the followers are a lot harder to identify when communication is limited to postures and displays. The strut in their walk, the ruffle of their feathers and the position of their head all convey clear messages to their flock mates but only vague signals to even the most expert human interpreter.

Every flock of birds we have raised from eggs to releasable sub-adults has had its own personality. Some were calm and sociable, while others were aggressive and independent — like the costume-reared class of 2017. From the beginning, our seven chicks were a tight group always sticking together even when they ventured out of the pen. We promoted that unity because there was a time when it was beneficial. When we led our birds south, they needed to be dedicated to the flock. If they didn’t have that allegiance to their peers, they were less likely to follow the birds that were following our aircraft and more likely to drop out or turn back. Those characteristics aren’t necessary anymore and this year, they proved to be a disadvantage.

The 2017 costume-reared birds are inexperienced and every day is a new learning opportunity. But rather than us being their teachers, they must now learn from other cranes, preferably Whoopers — although Sandhills are better than no mentors at all. Unfortunately, this naïve gang of innocents is too self-sufficient to submit to more seasoned cranes. They don’t know what they don’t know and they have yet to learn consequences of their baby bravado.

For more than six weeks, they spent most of their time with Henry (5-12) and 30-16. They foraged together and roosted in the same ponds, but if you watched closely, you could see the subtle delineation in the two groups. The seven would wander through fields poking in the mud while the other two would follow behind. They often broke into two factions in the air, even if only temporarily.

Adults 5-12 (Henry) and 30-16 in flight with the seven costume-reared juvenile whooping cranes. Photo: Doug Pellerin

And when the air turned cold and the ponds froze, Henry and his young friend left. They circled a few times and called to the chicks but left them behind when they wouldn’t heed. Even the Royal Couple tried to get them to follow but gave up. (Read Colleen’s update for more details on those fascinating interactions).

The winds have been blowing to the south lately and most of the Sandhills have read the signs and headed south. If they don’t take the hint soon the chicks will be on their own. In 2013, another close knit cohort of costume-reared chicks failed to migrate. Mind you, it was much later in the season. Rather than cold nights and a skiff of snow in the mornings, winter had set in for the long run. So, in order to prevent these seven from learning the hard way the penalties of not migrating, we decided to be proactive. We raised our concern on the WCEP Monitoring and Management Team call and developed a plan to break up this little autonomous gang. The first part of Plan A took place on Wednesday. Brooke and Colleen captured cranes 3-17 and 7-17 and took them down to the Wisconsin River in Sauk County to meet Anne Lacy and Hillary Thompson from ICF. The two were released near hundreds of Sandhills and they flew right to them. We hope that without their allies, they’ll be a little less insolent and soon learn what they didn’t know.

In the interim, the weather is predicted to turn a little warmer, which we hope will give the remaining five a chance to figure it out. With two of their group absent, the dynamic may change and we have time to see if that happens. If not, and the weather starts to become a critical factor, Plan B is to collect them all and relocate them to Goose Pond in southern Indiana. That Fish and Wildlife Area was in fact, established, in part, because of the Whooping cranes that began using it in the first years of this reintroduction.

It’s far enough south that our birds have wintered there and it’s now a common stopover during both legs of the migration with birds there at most times of the year. If we have to relocate them, they are bound to meet other cranes moving north or south later this year or next spring and with their familiarity of White River, we are confident, they will be back.

All of this is an opportunity for us to learn too. If we have another tight-knit cohort next year, we will act sooner, now that we have seen the consequences. We could divide the pen to separate groups or let them out in different orders and different times. When we raised 18 to 20 cranes in a season, we had to train them in up to three cohorts based on age and their ability to fly. At the end of those seasons, we had to manipulate their dominance structure to integrate three independent groups into one cohesive flock. We know how to bring them together so we will figure out how to keep them just independent enough to accept a little guidance when it’s needed. 

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Black Friday/Amazon Smile

Why not support Operation Migration today as you make your Black Friday purchases on Amazon.com?

Go to smile.amazon.com/ch/16-1560518 and Amazon donates a portion of your purchase to Operation Migration-USA Inc.

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Following Beeps

Early Saturday morning, I headed out to check whooping cranes, I heard 3-14’s beeps telling me the Royal Couple roosted in a familiar spot. Next, I checked on the costume-reared chicks. They flew off roost at 6:50 am to what is becoming a new favorite field; spent about a half hour there and went to another usual morning spot. I followed, then went down the road listening for the female of the royal couple, number 3-14. They too were in a frequently used field. I went back to camp for a refill of coffee and to warm up. It was 27° – I love it, but still, brrrrrrrr.

At 9:30-ish I headed out again. I could hear 3-14 beeping away, but they (assuming 4-12 is with her) were not in the usual places. I kept following beeps south, by now we are well south of their territory. Hmmm.

Next, I rounded a corner and the beeps got louder and sounded like they were coming from Henry’s Pond. I stopped in the middle of the road and adjusted the gain on the receiver. Sure enough they were in Henry’s Pond! They never go there! It was 27°, I never opened the window. Later I would wish I had!

I went a bit further to the chick’s favorite roosting wetland and did a head count. All present and accounted for. The rest of the day held no more surprises. Business as usual.

Sunday at 6:30am, as usual I turned on the receiver in camp as the van warmed, rather than putz with it as I drive on curvy County Road D. Usually, I never get a beep for #3-14 till I am a mile or two down the road. – Not that morning. The loud beeps told me they had either roosted in the back of the van or were in the air nearby. They were to the SE, and as I drove south they faded. Then I got them again more to the SW. Then straight South and they got softer and softer. I waved bye-bye and wished them safe travels. Off on migration they go.

The chicks had beat me to the field, I could hear they were all there but could not get a visual from any surrounding road.

It was a good migration day so at 7am I found a safe place to snug in for the morning and listen to beeps. At 7:20am I could still hear faint beeps from our Royal Couple. At 7:55 I switched to 3-14’s frequency wondering how many miles they would have traveled in the almost hour, which had passed, and would I still hear them. And OMG…They were in the field with the chicks! OMG!

Now, remember I can’t see any birds so I drive the perimeters of the field again hoping for a glimpse of white. Not from anywhere can I see a bird. So, I went back to my safe parking spot and listened. Then at 8:07am 9 Whooping cranes and 14 Sandhill cranes took off. The Sandhill’s broke off right away to the left. The 9 whoopers did a circle and flew SOUTH! I followed them into Princeton. Through Princeton. I got a visual and the crappiest picture ever.

Yes, those white specs really are whooping cranes.

I headed south on Hwy 23, which veers to the SW. They were going SE. I doubled back and headed south listening to strong beeps, flipping through each of the frequencies rhythmically to make sure each was there. They were, for about 4-5 miles. Then the chicks’ signals got softer. 3-14’s still strong. Back to #3’s and it’s fading, so I swung the antenna to the North and sure enough they were heading back. With a heavy heart, so did I.

At 8:45am they were back in their wetland. Sigh. I settled in on the top of the hill listening to the chick’s beeps. Just for the fun if it I switch to 3-14’s signal and still can hear it faintly to the SE. I turn it back to the chicks.

At 9:34am I turn it to 3-14 again… They are in the wetland with the chicks. Oh my heart! I am old, ya know!

They stayed 20 min and at 9:55am they took off for good. I listened to the beeps till they disappeared. The chicks were in a safe field and the show over for the day. I headed back to camp with tears streaming down my face.

What a remarkable thing I had just witnessed. Two adults that had only associated with the chicks one other time did their best to take them south. How gut-wrenchingly sad the chicks would not listen.

The rest of the day was same ol’ same ol’. At dusk a truck pulled up. With its tinted windows I could not tell if it was hunters or someone I knew. The driver put the window down and asked if he could park down here in camp and before I could answer he said if I tell you I know all about your birds will you let us? I replied he would get major brownie points if he loved Whooping cranes!

He introduced himself as Eric and said the day before, (Saturday) he was hunting at Henry’s Pond. (How cool is that? He called it Henry’s Pond!) He said Henry and 30-16 were in it, at which point I interrupted to tell him Henry and 30-16 had headed south last Thursday and it was probably 4-12 and 3-14 he saw. He replied, Oh! The Royal Couple! Now I was REALLY impressed!

He said for 45 minutes one of those birds called and called and cried. The chicks were in the wetland well within hearing distance. How I wished I had opened the windows Saturday morning when I was listening to the beeps at Henry’s Pond! It turns out Eric had met Brooke out at the North Pond during the summer. He educated Brooke about hunting and Brooke got him interested in the birds!

It sounds to me like the Royal Couple started trying to persuade the chicks Saturday morning to head south.

What do you think?

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Social Circles

Doug Pellerin managed to capture this photo showing Parent-reared whooping crane #38-17 (left) along with two adult whoopers near Horicon Marsh in Dodge County, WI last week. In the middle is female #71-16 and on the right is male 63-15.

Three whooping cranes among Sandhill cranes. Photo: Doug Pellerin

Since this photo was taken, 63-15 and 38-17 are still at Horicon but 71-16 has begun migration and currently in Jasper County, Indiana – BUT WAIT! It’s gets even more interesting!

I pulled up the GSM hit for 71-16 just now and realized the field she is in looked familiar. Now how many times does that happen to you? You’re boppin along, traveling on Google Earth and you come across a random field in Indiana and say to yourself “Self, that field looks familiar”! Never, right?

That’s why I figured I needed to find out WHY it looked familiar. I checked back through the PTT hits, which arrive faithfully at 7am each day and low and behold, another other Parent-reared crane I had been monitoring in southern Dodge County, WI, number 24-17 was in the SAME FIELD as 71-16!

The red and yellow dots are from the GSM device worn by 71-16. The blue dots are from 24-17’s PTT device.

How on earth do these birds manage to find each other like that?

 

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Where are they now?

This fall season, eleven young Parent-Reared Whooping cranes were released in central Wisconsin. All were released at known roost locations of adult whoopers in hopes they would form a bond with the older and wiser cranes and eventually follow them south.

All but two have begun heading south. One is even in central Florida already!

Here’s a map grab showing their known locations as of November 21st:

Locations of PR whooping cranes on November 21, 2017. Source: Google Earth

As you can see, cranes 30-17 and 72-17 are already well south. These are the two birds Jo-Anne Bellemer was monitoring in Winnebago County, WI.

Female crane 26-17 is now in Gibson County, IN and we think she is with #’s 4-14 (Peanut) and 11-15 but the are they are in is very isolated so we’ve not been able to get visual confirmation.

Number 28-17 does not have a remote tracking device but he was positively ID’d in Walworth County, WI over the weekend. 

Male whooping crane 28-17 in Walworth County, WI. Photo: B. Martin

19-17 (and likely 25-17) are in Warren County, IN. A PTT hit for adult female #2-15 places her at the same location so we believe these two migrated south with 2-15 and 28-05 from Marathon County, WI.

24-17 is the young male crane I was monitoring in southern Dodge County, WI. PTT hits indicate he was still in Wisconsin on the 16th and then by the 19th he was in Jasper County, IN. He is very likely traveling with Sandhill cranes.

36-17 and 37-17 left Marathon County, WI on Nov. 12th. Sadly, the following day, number 37-17 was found dead beneath a powerline in Necedah, WI. Her remains were collected by Necedah Refuge Biologist Brad Strobel. 36-17 continued migrating and is currently in Jasper County, IN.

Female cranes 38-17 & 39-17 are the two birds released at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. As of Nov. 21st they are both still at the refuge, although not together. Both have been associating with Sandhill cranes.

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Groom of Doom

“It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” Or at least that’s what our little whooper 4-13, aka. “Mack the Knife” will tell you. But in his case, there is a slight twist… for we’re not talking unrequited love here. No. It’s more a case of “Until death do us part” followed by, “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” without a whole lot time in between. And when the old boy stands in the front of the church and says, ”I Do” when he really means, “Goodbye,” the whole story really does get a little Alfred Hitchcockian. You see, Mack is on his third bride in less than twelve months. His first two are no longer among the living… which is why Colleen rechristened him, the “Groom of Doom.” And it does explain why, when Mack and 10-15 walked down the aisle this spring at White River Marsh, instead of playing “Here Comes the Bride,” the organist played, “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You.” But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Male 4-13 in the background and female 10-15.

Last Thursday morning was dark and cold as most Thursday mornings are these days. A low layer of thick overcast blanketed the countryside, thwarting all hope of a warming morning light. We followed our headlights south to Princeton to check the sloughs for sandhill cranes or “sandies” with the thought that they might participate in leading our chicks south now that Henry and Johnny have flown the coop. The winds would be out of the north all day and birds would almost certainly be moving south. On the way, we checked for the beeps of the chicks, the Royal Couple, and Mack and 10-15. All were present and accounted for, though still hidden in the darkness of their roosting sites.

We parked the tracking van and hiked through the woods to the slough, hoping to see it still occupied by a large flock of sandies. No such luck. Only a couple stragglers remained along with a pile of Canada geese and a lone seagull, painted into the picture as if for comic effect. The Atlantic Ocean must be close by, we thought. Or perhaps a garbage dump! Or perhaps the Fates were messing with our heads again… and it was a Laughing Gull.

Back in the van, the tracking receiver dutifully scanned through the bird frequencies as we began our return north. Suddenly it came alive with the sound Mack and 10-15 nearing us, in flight. They haven’t come this far south all season! They were MIGRATING! Like a dog chasing a stick, we turned around and instinctually commenced chase, following them in hot pursuit as the excitement grew and the speedometer climbed. That was until reality set in and we recognized the folly of our endeavor. Mack and 10-15 were not our priority. The chicks were. With luck, we would see them again at St Marks in couple of weeks anyway. Besides, my imagination suddenly flashed the sight of us being pulled over for speeding by the local sheriff and my response, “Well Officer, I was just chasing the Beeps”!

As we headed back north, I thought about good old 4-13, aka. Mack the Knife. His name was the result of an incident which occurred when he was a little chick back at Patuxent. One morning, he appeared for roll call with a bad bruise on his upper beak, probably the result with an encounter with the pen the previous night. As he grew, his top beak did not grow as fast as his bottom beak, which stuck out sharp as a stiletto. His pecks soon became near lethal so that by the end of the day, you felt like you had been playing goalie for the local dart team.

This accidental Darwinistic adaptation was certainly not to our benefit (note the shark bruises on my arms and back) but it may have been to his, because he is, as it turned out, the only surviving whooper of the Ultralight Class of 2013. Perhaps his motto is, “Walk softly and carry a sharp… beak” And it makes us wonder if intentionally bruising the upper beak of every whooper chick should become mandatory protocol. But as Confucius was fond of saying, “Who knows.”

So, let’s give this a closer look. Mack returned from St Marks last year with 7-14. They enjoyed a great season together and the relationship looked as though it was made in heaven. Then she disappeared. Meanwhile, Henry was showing off the very first love of his life, 8-14, and just in time too. We were beginning to wonder about the old boy. It was nubile bliss until the newly “separated” Mack flew in and snaked Henry’s bride for his own. “Bummer”! After all, Mack had been single for all of about… five minutes!

Mack and 8-14 spent their honeymoon at St Marks while Henry and Peanut watched from the nearby marsh. You just had to wonder what was going through their minds. But as married couples well know, honeymoons are not forever. Mack and 8-14 left on migration and not long thereafter we were driving to Alabama to recover the bride’s remains while Mack continued back to White River Marsh for a “new beginning.” He no doubt landed, fluffed himself up to advantage and called out over the reawakening spring country side, “Next”! This time, it was 10-15 that answered the call. Soon, Mack had himself a new mate…. and a new name — the “Groom of Doom” thanks to Colleen.

And so Thursday morning, we thought of the “lovely newlyweds” as their beeps faded into the southern distance. However, the beeps were soon replaced by the muffled, far away sound of a church organ, eerily surging towards us as sure as an incoming tide, until it infected our Invisible Friend in the back seat with a hum that quickly morphed into raucous, ear-shattering song. My foot instinctively floored the accelerator as we leaned forward hard against the windshield in a desperate effort to escape the malicious onslaught. But escape was not to be. And soon the insidious melody body snatched us into involuntary song, which began in our toes and crawled alien-like up our bodies until to poured out our mouths in Vesuvian eruption,

“So long, it’s been good to know you…….”

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Wood Buffalo National Park Threatened

One of the world’s largest groups of conservation scientists says Canada’s biggest national park is among the most threatened World Heritage Sites in North America.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says Wood Buffalo National Park, which straddles the Alberta-Northwest Territories boundary, is significantly threatened by hydroelectric and oilsands development.

Buffalo bull at Wood Buffalo National Park, taken in this 2007 file photo. Mike Drew/Postmedia Network

“This is quite embarrassing,” said Melody Lepine of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, many of whose members live alongside the park.

“It’s not looking good for Canada avoiding an endangered listing for Wood Buffalo.”

Wood Buffalo is a vast stretch of grassland, forest, wetland and lakes. Its 45,000 square kilometres contain one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas, uncountable flocks of waterfowl and songbirds, as well as ecological cycles and relationships that remain in their natural state.

It’s also the nesting site for the last (naturally occurring) flock of endangered whooping cranes.

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