Yesterday, I had to travel to Shreveport, Louisiana. It is a long two hour
drive through farmland, bayous, and rivers. Just north of Natchitoches,
I spotted a large bird flying toward me across a field. I knew it was too
large to be an egret. A heron perhaps? But the white feathers finally made my
heart stop! It was a whooping crane...fully grown and magnificent, gliding toward the
Bayou Pierre. Wow!
That probably doesn't mean much to most people. When I was growing up, these birds were on the brink of extinction. There were
only a few left in the wild. There was one at the San Antonio Zoo named
Rosie, and I can remember going to see her. We knew it might be the last
one we ever saw.
Several years ago, I had the privilege of visiting down at White Lake,
where Louisiana is trying to re-introduce the breed into the
area. It is a complex program, involving importing the chicks
from up East where there is an active breeding program, and caring
for them in the marsh until they are old enough to be released. The workers
dress like whooping cranes to go into their enclosure, so that they do
not become familiar with humans. They are kept in a netted area until
they can fly, and they continue to monitor them. They have had mixed results.
Many have been killed by animals, cars, and a few have even been
shot! Ahhh! But they are making a slow comeback. And yesterday proved
that! I am sure this bird I saw was one of theirs, and that he was
banded and tracked. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to see them often
and it be an everyday experience!
Good luck beautiful birds!
These are photos I took down at White Lake.