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September 30, 2017

International Cranes

by Rosemary West

One benefit of having a flexible schedule and few commitments is that we can be spontaneous. As we were driving toward Madison, Wisconsin, we stopped at a rest stop and picked up a magazine that listed things to do in the area. One of those things was the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, 40-some miles from Madison. It sounded intriguing, so we went there the next day.


A sculpture at ICF headquarters

There are 15 different species of cranes worldwide, and the ICF has samples of all of them in Baraboo. They strive to protect cranes in their natural habitats, while helping to improve conditions for local people and supporting a healthy environment for all species. Their work includes programs for breeding and reintroduction.


This beautiful gray-crowned crane in Wisconsin (above) bears a striking resemblance to the pair we saw in Tanzania (below) in 2001.


The Blue Crane enclosure had a mural backdrop. We couldn't tell whether the cranes appreciated or understood it, but we did see them occasionally looking toward it as if gazing into a distant landscape.


We were there on a cool, moist morning. Not many people were present, and all the cranes were active in their enclosures. Most of them noticed us and were clearly keeping an eye on our behavior.

The Whooping Cranes (below) ignored us by staying on the far side of their pond.



The center has hiking trails through prairie and wetland areas, where wild sandhill cranes nest in the spring.


We liked this place so much that we decided to support their work by becoming members.
 

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