Sunday, February 26, 2012

America's Hooded Crane

A secretive bird whose breeding territories were only first discovered in 1974, the Hooded Crane is described as one of the least understood large birds in the world. And that is primarily because it nests in the remote and inaccessible sphagnum bogs scattered through the taiga in southeastern Russia, and in China, in forested wetlands in mountain valleys.
I saw my first Hooded Crane at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in 2005.  And I saw my second at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee in December of 2011.  What was a Hooded Crane doing in the southeastern United States?  No one knows for certain.  But, there is every indication that this individual is wild, and possibly wandered too far west of Siberia, migrating into the United States following sandhill cranes.
Above, a group of Greater Sandhill Cranes feeding near the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee.  The Hooded Crane stands only 3.3 ft tall while the Greater Sandhill Crane may be 4-5 ft tall.

In February, 2012, this Asian crane visitor left Tennessee and was next seen staging with sandhill cranes at the Goose Pond Wildlife Management Area in Green County, Indiana.  It stayed approximately four days and was last seen February 12th.  Birders are watching for it in more northerly sandhill crane staging areas.

I have recently written a three-part series on the endangered Hooded Crane, threats to its native habitat, and its visit to the southeast on my companion blog, Vickie Henderson Art.  The series, entitled, America's Hooded Crane, includes beautiful images taken by Chinese researcher, Dr. Guo Yumin, of the Hooded Crane on its breeding territory, along with slides explaining how to distinguish individual hooded canes.  

Links and Resources:

Read more about Dr Guo Yumin's work on the Grus Monacha International Aid website.
Chinese ornithologist, Guo Yumin, win's Whitley Award for his research on the Hooded Crane.
WFN--Whitley Fund for Nature
Hooded Crane--International Crane Foundation
Sandhill Crane--International Crane Foundation

On this blog:  Sandhill Cranes and Art and Whooping cranes in watercolor

2 comments:

Welcome! I am glad to hear your comments, questions and feedback! Vickie

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