Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Weekly News Feature - Whooping Crane Shot in Indiana

Late last week, an extremely disturbing report was sent out over the IN-BIRD list-serve. A Whooping Crane, one of the most beautiful birds I've personally ever seen, was shot in southwest Indiana during its migration south. This particular bird and its mate were part of a flock of ~19 birds migrating from Wisconsin to Florida.

What's especially heartbreaking is that this female crane is the only one to have ever successfully raised a chick in the wild and led it to Florida, according to the Birders World and International Crane Foundation's websites: "Not only have we lost one of our breeding pairs, we have lost our only successful beeding pair. Hopefully #11-02 will be able to find a new mate, but since we are still low on the female-to-male, I don't know how soon that may be." (Check out the ICF's blog post here - http://www.savingcranes.org/firstfamilytragedydecember32009.html)

Rob and I saw the group of Whooping Cranes that migrate over this are of Indiana about four years ago at Goose Pond FWA. They are truly majestic birds, and it angers us to think that someone may have intentionally killed this helpless living thing, who happens to be on the endangered species list.

To all of you who live in this area, a minimum $2,500 reward is being offered to anyone who provides information leading to a conviction in the shooting of this critically endangered species. Please contact the Indiana DNR 24-hour hotline at (800) 847-4367 or the Fish and Wildlife Service at (317) 346-7016. (Callers can remain anonymous.)

On a happier note, we will be heading down to Goose Pond tomorrow morning for the first of three Christmas Bird Counts that we're participating in this year. Look for a report and hopefully some photos later this week!

-Stephanie