Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Day with the Endangered

We started the day in Kaplan, LA at the
Sunnyside Motel...it was not sunny

White Lake in south LA;
home to the whooping crane project

Me, Mr. Bob, his son, Mark, and Lee all went to
see the cranes

With Sara, the crane coordinator of the project

We arrived at the site, and these young cranes soon
appeared...breathtaking

As the landed, you can see their leg bands that
identify them.  These young birds still have some
of their brown feathers.  When they mature, they will be
all white

This is an adult male from the program last year.  He
still stays around the compound

These are the blinds that we observed the birds from...
very nice.  We had to be quiet and fairly still so we
would not disturb them

Sara donned her "crane habit" and entered to restock their
food.  They eat a pellet with all the nutrients, etc that they
need.  They are making every attempt to keep the birds as
wild as they can.

This is the adult male again, preening.  They develop
the red marking on their head when they mature.  He
was about 4-5 feet tall.

This was our transportation coming and going, very
nice ride

Mr. Bob had always wanted to see the whooping cranes in
person, and planned to go to Aransas Pass, Texas.  When
he learned that this new program was here in the state,
he was able to arrange for us all to go.  They are not necessarily
letting many people in there, but were considerate enough
to allow us today. 
These cranes come from Maryland, where they are hatched, and
then transported here to White Lake.  They are acclamated inside
the marsh enclosure gradually, and begin to venture out as they
mature.  This is the second year of the experiment.  The goal is
to establish a non-migrating flock.  There are only about 300
living whooping cranes in the world.  When I was growing up
in Texas, there were only 15!  They have made some great strides
in trying to help this species recover.  It was thrilling to get
to see them, and encouraging to know that passionate people
are there trying to help them.

sheltongail@hotmail.com
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