This morning I was lucky enough to see, up close, one of the few North American whooping cranes! With no other whooper friends around, this crane foraged at the UF Beef Teaching Unit, a small cattle facility nestled within the city of Gainesville, among groups of wintering Sandhill Cranes.
Just when you thought the Sandhills were large and conspicuous, this Whooper stands out (literally!) in the group. This species clocks in as the tallest, flight-capable bird in the world. Due to extreme conservation and re-introduction efforts, including the extraordinary Operation Migration, there's hope yet for this species.
Visit SavingCranes.org for more information on conservation efforts and population trends.
If you live in Gainesville make a quick trip out to the Beef Teaching Unit ASAP!
Jessica is a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and enjoys playing disc golf, volleyball. She also does some casual birdwatching, and is most recently enjoying her new chicken-farming hobby.