Whooping Crane juveniles in training at Operation Migration at the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Wisconsin on August 31, 2017

The Whooping Crane juveniles, 7 of them, have been in training at the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area for the last couple of months. Viewing is now open to public. A birding friend of mine, Karen Schoenike reserved the blind and I was able join her for the big event today watching some of the training. We arrived very early in the morning meeting Doug Pellerin who took us out the blind after meeting Brooke Pennypacker and Colleen Chase at the gate. Colleen who has worked with these birds since hatching joined us in the blind after she released the birds from the pen.  The event started with the release of the birds, mingling by the pen, then they took to flight and landed numerous times. This was an amazing and fun event to witness in person, to watch these birds in action feeding, flying and hanging as a group like family. Doug and Colleen were great hosts. The eggs of these birds came from Necedah in April 2017, were flown out to Maryland, incubated, hatched ~June 24th, 2017 and flown back here for Operation Migration. Correct me if I am incorrect on any of this information. The morning started out with low cloud cover with temps at 50 degrees, breezes picked up after awhile, sun peek out once or twice. Photographing these birds are difficult from the blind as prairie grasses are reaching at least 6 feet tall now plus the birds are pretty distant. No adults were seen today. With that said, it was still a great experience today at Operation Migration! I hope the Whoopers have a successful flight to the south when it is their turn to migrate. Contact Doug Pellerin if you want any information on the blind use. Images were taken on August 31, 2017.

Opening of the pen for the young Whooping Cranes begin…

Puppet in hand with the Whooping Crane hood on…

The excitement builds and the birds come running out after the gate is opened…

They are anxious to be out for feeding and it is time to fly!

They start feeding in the field at first not to far from the pen…

They are moving out…

They take to the sky!

Up, up, and away, Colleen leaves the area, they will be on their own for hours now…

They are flying off in a distant but remain in the area…

They are up and away…

Circling around in a very big area…

More of the same…

They are heading towards us…

Not time to land yet, they are just passing by for another circle…

Coming in for a landing at the pen landing strip…

Doing some feeding after the first flight and hanging out…

They are headed to behind the pen to a pond and were out of view for awhile…

Time to takeoff again…

Up, up, and away…

View looking at the pen from standing in the blind…

About admin

Window to Wildlife features the photography of Jim Edlhuber. A lifelong native of Wisconsin, Jim has been photographing wildlife for 20 years. He considers himself an avid photographer and is always trying to capture nature and wildlife through his lens. He is in several photography clubs and has won numerous awards for his work. In recent years, Jim has focused mostly on birding photography and finds it to be the most challenging.
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4 Responses to Whooping Crane juveniles in training at Operation Migration at the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Wisconsin on August 31, 2017

  1. Nan Wisherd says:

    After watching Harvey’s destruction for almost a week, seeing nature at her finest soothes one’s soul. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Gerald Haiar says:

    A truly exciting occasion !

  3. Sara Sonntag says:

    Outstanding Jim! It is an amazing experience to see the Whoopers at Operation Migration. Great shots..I especially love the one’s towards the end of them flying low together..fantastic!

  4. Annie says:

    What an awesome program. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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