Have you ever seen a whooping crane? Many of the people I know would be the first to admit they know little about whooping cranes, and almost nothing about the fact that there are whooping cranes right here in Wisconsin. But as our re-introduced flock grows (the current count of our Eastern Migratory Population of whooping cranes has just been established at 108 birds) the very slim chance that you would see one increases a a little.
So, would you know what to do? There are two very important things you should know, according to the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.
First, keep your distance – whooping cranes are wild creatures, and big; but the real concern about human and whooping crane interactions is that the crane’s natural fear of humans will diminish with each exposure. Their fear is an important survival mechanism and must be preserved.
The second thing to do, if you are ever lucky enough to sight a whooping crane is to report it. Here is a link to an online reporting form at the US Fish & Wildlife Servicer. It’s a page long, but filling it out looks like a fairly short and sweet process. Basically USFWS wants as much information as you can supply, but if all you have is the date, and the county where you sighted the crane, that will do.
Some interesting November whooping crane encounters here in Wisconsin have been reported in blogs and facebook groups. See the re-blog post that follows. It is from Dancing Bird Studio, where blog author, Darcy, writes about a new family – 2 adults and a juvenile – of whoopers, and how it came to be; with dramatic photos, too.