Big, beautiful, iconic, and highly endangered, the whooping crane – and the continuing story of its survival against the odds – offers us, I do believe, one of the best wildlife epics of our time. The story pairs the power of nature to endure with the creative power of humans to improve on our many intersections with the natural world.

I started The Badger* and the Whooping Crane to join – and hopefully amplify in any small way I can – the chorus of voices telling this story, and in particular, to highlight Wisconsin’s considerable role, since 2001, in this drama. I also like to tap the rich vein of news about natural resources in Wisconsin and share as much as I can (there is so much!) of that.


When I first visited the amazing International Crane Foundation in Baraboo,WI, it was curiosity, and not a whooping crane obsession, that prompted me. What, I wondered, was an institution dedicated to large, exotic birds doing here, in the middle of the Dairy State? Unexpectedly, before my visit was over, I had acquired a fascination with whooping cranes that just continues to grow. The more I learn about these graceful, avian wonders, the more I want to share their story of survival with everyone I encounter.

My name is Kathlin Sickel, and I’m a freelance writer living in Northeastern Wisconsin. Nothing makes me happier, in a journalistic sense, than discovering a good story. This is a great one.


Watching the transformation of little fuzz-ball chicks into the gorgeous, rare big birds they become is just the beginning of the story. Following their migration stories and their progress toward their destiny as truly wild birds adds another level of awe; add to that the things done by people all over North America to safeguard and ensure their existence, and you have the ingredients for an inspiring, multi-faceted, long-running saga. Each time someone hears the story for the first time – every time the amazing details involved in it are shared – new fans for the cause of the whooping crane are sure to be created.

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[A note: *Maybe for some the connection between badgers and whooping cranes could use an explanation, so here it is: “badger” is just another nickname (like “cheesehead”) we Wisconsinites give ourselves. We are “the Badger State”, and the short-legged, underground, nocturnal animal, is our largest university’s celebrated mascot. When you say “badger” around here, you mean Wisconsin.]

[Photo courtesy of the International Crane Foundation]

34 thoughts on “About

  1. Looking forward to reading more.
    Perhaps Aldo Leopold put it best when he wrote,
    When we hear [the crane’s] call we hear no mere bird. We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution. He is the symbol of our untamable past, of that incredible sweep of millennia which underlies and conditions the daily affairs of birds and men.

    When I am working outside and hear that call, I always stop and look up and wish the cranes well.

  2. Friends, so glad you stopped by and left your greetings.

    Gator Woman, thanks back to you too!

    And Denise, thanks for those beautiful words about the cranes. I kind of figured you live in a part of the state that must bring you whooping crane sightings – so exciting!

  3. Ah, Mary, it is a beautiful bird. I sincerely hope you’ll see one in the wild, or even if in a ” captive setting” (there are several wonderful places that keep individuals of this species that cannot for a variety of reasons, make it on their own).
    Thank you for stopping here, and leaving a comment! Oxygen for a blogger – as I know you know.

  4. So glad we’re “blog buddies”! I read Kathleen Kaska’s book last year and got hooked. I wish I’d visited the ICF when we were at the Dells (coulda, woulda, shoulda), but at least I got to see the Sandhill migration in Indiana last fall. Anyway, thanks for being the trumpet-bearer for whoopers and nature!

  5. Yes, welcome here, blog buddy! You shouldn’t worry about not getting to ICF – you can plan a stop there next time you’re in Wisconsin. (I hope you’ll get back here!) Kathleen Kaska’s book is on my reading list – I hear it’s a true adventure story, and I love the results. Once Robert Allen Porter found those nests, I think the real work of preserving the species really took off.

    Seeing one of the great Sandhill migration viewing opportunities is on my list too.
    I read your account of your trip to Indiana last fall – good for you!! I’m looking forward to your Chicago updates – glad you’re liking the place; I’ve always been nuts about it, but not everyone I know is so charmed by it (except for the natives of course – they all seem to adore it).

  6. I have only seen two Whooping Cranes and they were mixed in a huge flock of Sandhills. They were on the western slope in Colorado near Monte Vista.

    Love you blog and dedication to these beautiful birds!

  7. Your viewers may be interested in the following link. It tells about 32 new wild whooping crane chicks being counted on Wood Buffalo, Canada nesting grounds.. groundshttp://friendsofthewildwhoopers.org/number-whooping-cranes-fledged-wood-buffalo-canada/

  8. I did share this post on my Facebook page too, and I certainly do hope readers use this link and learn about the 32 new whooping cranes in northern Canada. I’m wondering, is that a record? If only the Eastern Migratory Population could have a fraction of that success, it would sure benefit the cause.

    • Hello, J.A.N.E., and welcome to Badger & the Whooping Crane,
      Thank you for coming, and deciding to follow! I’ll do my very best to keep new facts coming your way.
      I enjoyed my first visit to Just Another Nature Enthusiast & look forward to many more; I know we share a common interest.

  9. Hello, Betsy, I’m so glad you came by! I love what you’re doing at your blog; there are so many aspects to helping forge a “greener” world, and you cover so many of the many! Thanks for being a fan of the whooping cranes – tough and beautiful, and not out-of-danger – there’s always drama to be shared.

  10. I feel the same way about the Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Osprey Eagles, hawks and Egrets who share the river and marshes here with us. We saw two Bald Eagles perched together in a tree along the James River this afternoon. It was a magical sight, and we were so appreciative to have been in the right place at the right time to enjoy it. We have so many wonderful birds in the National Park near us, and we love to visit and watch their lives unfold. What a wonderful idea for a blog, Kathlin! Best wishes, WG

  11. Thank you, gnome, for following, and thanks you for the good wishes. Please share news of your Herons, Eagles, Egrets, Hawks and Osprey, anywhere here, and anytime, if you’d like to! It would be most welcome.
    I very much enjoy my visits to your Forest Garden!

  12. Hi,

    My name is Michelle, I love outdoor trips, and I was visiting your website – “The Badger and the Whooping Crane” today.

    I’ve found many interesting things on your site, but also some broken links.

    Is this the right place to report them?

    If that helps, I can send you over the details. Just let me know.

    Kind regards,

    • Yes, indeed, Michelle, and thank you for getting in touch about this!
      Since I have no “contact me” system set up on my blog at this time – something else to fix, but for now I’d be most grateful if you’d leave the information about broken links here. Or you could report them in the comment box on the page where you find them. Whichever method works best for you! I’ll get the notice in my email, and I’ll be glad to fix or remove the non-working links. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

  13. I worked fir the Wisconsin DNR for many years and went birding with Randy Hoffman and Summer Matteson. In December 5, 2015, I had 2 whooping cranes flying south behind my house located bergen Harvard, IL and Marengo, IL along Illinois State Hwy. 23 with a group of about 20 Sandhill Cranes.

  14. You’re doing a great service to wildlife here! Thanks for stopping by my blog and following ~ it led me back to your blog and I look forward to reading more!

  15. And I’m glad to have found your “little writing blog,” Carol! Thanks for the encouraging words – you never know for sure, but I do hope I’m doing a service at times here; thanks for saying you think so.

  16. Welcome here, M.O.S.Y.! I can’t promise you a lot about badgers – they’re mostly symbolic here, but you’ll grow to love the whooping cranes. It just happens. Glad to hear you’ve got a small collection of Wisconsin bloggers, and that “The Badger & the Whooping Crane’S included!! And just so you know – I am loving my virtual visits to Australia; looking forward to lots more.

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