A Day With The Cranes – 1 of Many

In case you might have missed it, we are now officially in May.  Hard to believe around here seeing as how it has been like 46, windy and raining most of the week.  Couple that with the current administration claiming our economy is hurting because of .. wait for it .. the unusually cold Winter and we officially call Globull Warming a policy of redistribution based on hogwash.  But I digress, the real point about mentioning it was May is that it signifies the start a new set of posts (yeah, crowd goes wild!).  Calm down, you might scare the bird of the day.

Pretty cool eh?  Happened to catch this beautiful specimen walking across our backyard one morning.  Believe that?  Okay, I lied.  This was actually taken while hiking in a remote and dangerous part of Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Wow, tough crowd.. so it really wasn’t that remote… or that dangerous … but it WAS just outside of Baraboo Wisconsin so it wasn’t a complete distortion of the truth.  Reality is this Blue Crane was taken while visiting The International Crane Foundation (link here).   For those not familiar with this particular place, this foundation is focused on saving/restoring the various Crane species throughout the world.  They were founded back in 1973 by Ron Sauey and George Archibald.  From there they started a journey to conserve the Crane population that was in serious risk throughout the world.  They are probably most well known for their ongoing efforts to bring back the Whooping Crane population by creatively employing an ultra-light to help young Cranes migrate from Wisconsin to Florida starting back in 2001.  If you are a true birder, you owe it to yourself to make the trip to visit this awesome foundation.

On our first visit up there several years ago (when these pics were taken), we didn’t have very high expectations.  Wisconsin didn’t seem like the appropriate place to go check out Cranes.  Figured we’d stop by there, walk around the place for a bit and head out – maybe an hour tops.  It is stunning how wrong we were – thinking we pulled ourselves out of there after about 3.5 hours and that was because we had other places to be.  Not only did they have a number of birds on display, there were a number of habitats that were set up perfectly for photographers – in other words, they provided a means to shoot directly at some of the birds without having to deal with annoying linked fences.  The Blue Crane featured here had a nice area complete with muraled walls to provide the illusion of being out in the wild.  Each of the areas had some form of grazing area along with a structure they could seek shelter from the sun if needed.  I spent a lot of time waiting for the shot above thinking the doorway would provide a natural frame.  Decided to do a little more cropping on it to see which I liked better (see first shot).  Been back and forth on that, but eventually decided I liked the tighter cropping – any opinions from your perspective?

Here is a shot showing the wall mural – also gives a better impression on the size of the bird.  From a Crane perspective, the Blue Crane is on the smaller stature end.  They run in the 4 foot and 11 pound range.  Yes, I did just say they average 4 foot tall while also stating they are on the SMALLER end of the scale.  You haven’t had a true Crane experience until you are staring at one of the species standing nearly at eye level.

Hit the jump to read more about this beautiful Crane!

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