Whooping Cranes are on their way to Aransas NWR

Whooping Cranes migrating south

Last Week, six wild whoopers, one of them a juvenile, were spotted in a field northwest of Cheviot Lake, SK with hundreds of Sandhill Cranes and some Snow Geese. Our friend and supporter Val Mann from Saskatchewan sent us a couple of photos and her observation. Again, we thank Val for her fantastic photos of the wild whoopers.

“Kim and I were out on the grid roads in the central part of Saskatchewan yesterday looking for whooping cranes.  We had seen a report describing six whooping cranes in a farmer’s field earlier this week and wanted to see if they were still there.  About noonish, we saw three of the cranes, still in the area.  They were in the field with a number of sandhill cranes, over a mile from the road. The photos show the whooping cranes very far off in the distance – even for a powerful telephoto lens.”

Whoopers from Wood Buffalo National Park heading for Aransas NWR

Whooping Crane
Whooping Cranes somewhere in Saskatchewan. Photo courtesy of Val Mann

Whoopers take flight

“About 45 minutes later, a very large flock of snow geese took to flight from a nearby slough.  As the snow geese approached the area with the cranes, the cranes stopped feeding and began to look skyward.   Shortly thereafter, the cranes took flight and flew towards a large lake just southeast of the field.”

Whooping Cranes
Whooping Cranes somewhere in Saskatchewan. Photo courtesy of Val Mann

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****

Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

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Whooping Cranes Near Regina, SK Canada

Migrating Whooping Cranes spotted near Regina

On Thursday, April 14, 2016, Fran Kerbs, of Regina SK Canada, and her friend received a tip about two Whooping Cranes being spotted northwest of Regina, SK Canada. Excited by the tip, they headed out to catch them before they continued on in their migration to Wood Buffalo National Park. Staying quite a distance away to observe them, Fran was able to get three short videos of them in the field foraging, bugling, and finally taking flight.

About the videos

Fran told Friends to the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW), “the first video has their call (in the key of B), and we were happy to be downwind of them to hear them. The middle video is a good one to show how these new “superzoom” cameras can make the whooping cranes appear close when they were actually approx 1.5 miles away.” As you can see in the third video, the whooping cranes decided it was time for them to continue on their northern migration.

Fran sent us the YouTube links to her videos with permission to combine them into one and share it with everyone. FOTWW thanks Fran for the video and we hope you enjoy the whooping cranes near Regina. We certainly did! Thank you, Fran!

 

Whooping Cranes
friendsofthewildwhoopers.org

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

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Luseland Museum Unveils Nature Preserve

by Pam Bates

Luseland Museum

Luseland Museum Whooping Crane " Nature Preserve " Exhibit.
Luseland Museum Whooping Crane Exhibit. Photo courtesy of Val Finley. Click photo to enlarge.

Luseland Museum, a museum in Luseland, Saskatchewan has added a preserved whooping crane to its new “nature preserve” exhibit.

Recent generous donations allowed the museum to expand and create the new exhibit, said founding member of the museum, Val Finley.

“We had the good fortune to find a whooper who had died of natural causes,” Finley said.

The whooper, lovingly named Gwenivere, was made into a specimen for the Museum. But the exhibit won’t be the first time the town has witnessed whooping cranes. When the only remaining wild flock was at its peak, the giant white birds stopped in Luseland on their migration between their nesting grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park and their wintering grounds on Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

Luseland

Luseland is a small town with about 600 people located in Saskatchewan, 30 miles East of the Alberta border on Highway 31. It is located within the Central Flyway and back in the 1920’s and earlier, whooping cranes were seen migrating through the area.

Just 2-3 miles southeast of town is Shallow Lake, a slough that the whooping cranes seemed to like. It was primarily a resting place for most birds and reports were that whooping cranes did nest there until their population plummeted due to hunting and habitat loss.

Shallow Lake slough

Because of its early history with whooping cranes, in 2012, the Shallow Lake slough was considered a suitable habitat and possible location to reintroduce the species. Unfortunately, the Federal and Provincial governments decided to sell off the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration or PFRA pastures, in which Shallow Lake is situated, putting the plans on the shelf. But Finley says “since then, it appears the Federal and Provincial governments may be rethinking their actions, so we are keeping our fingers crossed”.

The Nature Preserve Unveiling

Luseland Museum Whooping Crane "Nature Preserve" Exhibit.
Luseland Museum Nature Preserve. Photo courtesy of Val Finley. Click photo to enlarge.

The Luseland museum’s expansion allowed for new exhibits to be displayed, including a nature display, rightfully named the “Nature Preserve”. The purpose of the “Nature Preserve” is for education and creating interest in wildlife. Like many nature exhibits, it displays natural grasses, trees and wildlife such as Canada Geese, Grouse, Hawks, a Fawn, baby antelope and various nests with eggs, just to name a few. All of the specimens were collected by the dedicated and hard working members of the museum and local residents.

But what makes the museum’s exhibit stand out the most is the 5 foot tall endangered crane in their exhibit.

Luseland Museum Whooping Crane " Nature Preserve " Exhibit
Luseland Museum Whooping Crane Exhibit. Photo courtesy of Val Finley. Click photo to enlarge.

“Gwenivere” is our star and we now have people dropping into the Museum and their first question is, “How is Gwenivere today?”, Finley said.

So, next time you are traveling on Highway 31, take some time to stop in Luseland and visit Gwenivere in her own natural habitat at the Luseland Museum.

Besides the wonderful educational, historical and nature exhibits, the people running the museum are friendly and more than happy to answer any questions or show you around. While you are there, tell them that Friends of the Wild Whoopers sent you.

friendsofthewildwhoopers.org logo
friendsofthewildwhoopers.org

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

 

Destination: Wood Buffalo National Park

From Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to their destination, Wood Buffalo National Park , the only surviving natural wild flock of whooping cranes make this incredible 2,500 mile migration each spring to begin their nesting season.  Absolutely an amazing journey and feat!

This captivating photo of whooping cranes over Saskatchewan, was taken by John Siller from Saskatchewan. Below is John’s account on how this photo came about. It’s a perfect example of always having your camera within reach.

Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW) would like to thank John for allowing us to share his photo of the wild ones.

Destination Wood Buffalo National Park. Whooping Cranes Over Saskatchewan.
Whooping Cranes Over Saskatchewan. Photo by John Siller

“So I was working on a grain auger this morning right out front of the shop doors. Stubborn thing just would not start. As I worked I could hear flight after flight of cranes flying past on today’s strong SE wind. I always looked up, checking for white ones, but no luck…. As there were so many going past I thought perhaps a wise man would have his camera ready, just in case. I walked over to the pickup and took out my camera, turned it on, checked the settings and heard another flight coming in. As they passed my jaw dropped, 3 Whoopers at the end of the flight and I am standing there loaded and ready. Not perfect but… This is a prize for me and glad to share it. I hope some of you enjoy it.”

We are confident that everyone will enjoy seeing this photo! Thank you John!

friendsofthewildwhoopers.org logo
friendsofthewildwhoopers.org

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

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