FINAL DAY!!!

Cranes NEED wetlands – and wetlands NEED cranes…

Now you can sport a cool T-shirt or hoodie to support both! But this design is only available UNTIL TOMORROW.

Check out the latest design from Custom Ink, (which includes a secret message).

There are several T-shirt styles to choose from as well as two color choices for a lightweight hoodie that everyone has loved from our previous campaigns.

Available only for the month of March – they will be shipped directly to you approximately 2 weeks after the close of the campaign.

 

Be sure to order yours before March 31st!

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Why we do what we do

Often supporters are incredulous and amazed at the work we do to save Whooping cranes. The following story says it all, it’s why we do what we do… what could bring more joy than reading this man’s account of a time-honored tradition of watching spring migration of Sandhills and seeing two Whooping cranes among them.

READ more.

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What is Integrated Vegetation Management?

Often the needs of humans collide with the needs of wildlife. For many years we nary gave it a thought as we selfishly stripped away habitat in our never ending quest to make our lives better.

In particular, utility companies often come under fire for cutting away large swaths of land for the right of way for transmission lines.  I’m sure there are not many among us who are willing to live without electricity, so what are we to do when we care about our environment and the various species that live among us. 

Source: http://content.yardmap.org

Integrated Vegetation Management and land stewardship may very well be the answer.  So many species, from plants, to birds, insects, to animals can all benefit from this practice.

Habitat Network has delved into this issue and come up with some very do-able solutions.

Read more  

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The WHAT???

A few days before we left for Costa Rica, I was chatting with Heather and she said, “When you get here we have to go look for the Jabirus!”. “The WHAT???”, I said, thinking she had lost her mind. I did a quick Google and was surprised to see a stork. I jumped back to my chat window and typed “oh wow, a stork!” but it came out “w5o4k” or something like that – in my excitement I had shifted my left hand onto the wrong row of keys. 

Adult Jabiru stork in Costa Rica (photo by Heather using JoBel’s camera)

If you think seeing a picture of a Jabiru on your computer screen is exciting, seeing them in person (in bird?) is 10 times better. 

Our arrival in Costa Rica was delayed one day because of a nor’easter that dropped about 18″ of snow in our area. That gave Heather some time to go scout for the Jabiru based on directions someone had given her. “Go past the dirt road and look for the tree that’s just past the dead frog on the road.” OK, maybe not quite that vague, but keep in mind that there are no addresses in Costa Rica. A lawyer that we met gave us her address as ’50 meters north of the national bank on avenue 5!’ 

Anyway, Heather didn’t find the Jabirus on her scouting mission because she apparently missed the dead frog. The next day, however, we were successful. We went just a little farther down the road and there, up in the tree, was a giant nest with two Jabirus, an adult and one chick! 

The chick must be close to fledging because it was practicing with jumping and flapping (flumping?). Here’s a short video of what we witnessed.

(You may want to let the video render completely and then watch it)

They are very tall; in fact, whereas the Whooping Crane is the tallest bird in North America, the Jabiru is the tallest flying bird in Central and South America. They are not endangered, but there are only about 100 Jabirus in Costa Rica, making them the highlight of our trip! 

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Morning (Whooper) Yoga

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Whooping Cranes 5-12 & 30-16

Last week we told you that Brooke watched these two lift off from St. Marks NWR in Wakulla County, FL and head north.

Late yesterday, we received a public sighting for these two in southern Illinois! 

This means in the 3 days since they left St. Marks, the two cranes covered close to 600 miles. #impressive

If you see a whooping crane be sure to submit your report!

Whooping Crane #30-17

This young female Parent-Reared crane decided to winter about as far south as she possibly could – in Plaquemine Parish, Louisiana.

She is now on her return trip north and is making pretty decent progress. The red line on the following map shows her trip south from Wisconsin and as you can see, she appears to be retracing her route and is currently in southwest Kentucky – about halfway home.

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ONLY 5 DAYS LEFT!

Cranes NEED wetlands – and wetlands NEED cranes…

Now you can sport a cool T-shirt or hoodie to support both! But this design is only available for 5 MORE DAYS!

Check out the latest design from Custom Ink, (which includes a secret message).

There are several T-shirt styles to choose from as well as two color choices for a lightweight hoodie that everyone has loved from our previous campaigns.

Available only for the month of March – they will be shipped directly to you approximately 2 weeks after the close of the campaign.

Be sure to order yours before March 31st!

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OM Aircraft on Display

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is the largest organization for aviation enthusiasts in the world. There are almost a thousand individual chapters of the EAA all over the United States and in many other countries. Each summer, more than a half a million people and 10,000 aircraft gather in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the largest air show on the continent.

The grounds at Wittman Field Airport include space for private aircraft, war birds, antiques, rotor-craft and ultralights. The Concord was there and the new Airbus A380 before it was in service and even Air Force One visits occasionally.

The museum holds the world’s largest private collection of every category of aircraft from home-built’s to the Spirit of St Louis.

And now one of the Operation Migration trikes hangs in the mezzanine. The display is not yet complete. We donated one of Mary O’Brien’s custom made costumes and a helmet so the seat will be occupied and they are working on a flock of Whooping cranes to follow off the wingtip. There will also be a display panel and maybe a video to explain the historic significance of the aircraft.

Joe Duff will be a guest speaker at the EAA Museum’s Aviation Adventure Speaker Series on June 21st and again during the annual airshow in July.

Thanks to Carol and Greg Bielski for sending along the following images taken during their visit to EAA recently.

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Heading North!

Brooke reports the two male Whooping cranes, which wintered at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge lifted off at 12:15 pm and after thermalling to gain altitude, were last seen heading north.

They are cranes 5-12 and 30-16. (aka Henry and Johnny)

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Wading Birds

You’ve no doubt heard us describe cranes as being wading birds… Just what make them, and others wading birds? 

Learn the various identifying features that makes a bird – a wading bird…

Read more  

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Wood Buffalo National Park Under Scrutiny

Concern for the only surviving wild population of Whooping cranes is often brought to attention with worry about their wintering destination in Texas along the Gulf Coast but recent reports are warning of dangers in their nesting grounds as well.  We must be ever vigilant to safeguard both areas.

Read more…

Salt River in Wood Buffalo National Park

 

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Poop Samples

They say that we are what we eat…

Poop sample of Whooping crane #5-12 (aka Henry).

If that were true, Henry (#5-12) would be a Periwinkle!

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Evil Twins

Science long ago discovered that each of us has an “Evil Twin”… someone who looks exactly like we do but does things we would never even think of doing… like exaggerating our past achievements and net worth, forgetting the birthdays of our significant others or failing to bag up our dog’s poop in the park when no one is looking. The really Bad Things! But despite years of effort and countless millions of dollars, scientists have never been able to prove the existence of a “Whooper Evil Twin.”

So last week, we drove over to nearby Betterhaf University and borrowed their famous “Evil Twin Cam”… the very same camera that took those now famous pictures of Big Foot, the UFO and the Loch Ness Monster… and we deployed it in the St Marks pen. Then we crossed our fingers… and waited.

Yesterday morning, under the cover of darkness, we retrieved the camera and scurried back to the blind. Our fingers trembled with anticipation as they extracted the photo chip, plugged it into the wide screen TV which proudly hangs on one wall of the blind and scrolled through the five gazillion pictures. Then… suddenly… the distant pop of a Champaign cork echoed from the marsh… followed by the quiet voice of Humphrey Bogart, “Here’s looking at you, kid” as Johnny and his “Evil Twin” magically appeared before our very eyes.

See for yourself!

Whooping crane 30-16 (aka Johnny) and his “evil twin”

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The Last Living Dinosaurs

Take a look at the amazing art and architecture of a whooping crane foot. 

Click image to enlarge

This image certainly illustrates that they are, in fact, the last living dinosaurs.

We need to save them… We hope you’ll help.

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