I am sending this e-mail on behalf of David Sausville, Wildlife
Biologist, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, Dead Creek Wildlife
Management Area in Addison and myself (I chair the Vermont Endangered
Species Committee for the State of Vermont).
A two year old female Whooping Crane has been sighted three times in
Addison County. The first sighting was on June 9th at the Dead Creek
WMA and described in the e-mail below by David.
She was rediscovered by Mary Worley and Bill Leeson two days ago (June
22nd) in a small wet area by the side of a town road near the Lemon Fair
River. Bill took some fine digital snapshots of her. She flew off and
Mary and I were then able to rediscover her and observe her foraging for
and hour or more without us being seen .... close enough to confirm the
leg bands. She wandered slowly in a cornfield and shallow flooded
fields blending with herbaceous marsh. She spent most of the time in
the field and shallow water At one point she was accompanied by a
female turkey in the cornfield; so close that it appeared that the
turkey walked between her legs (I can't imagine it actually happened,
but the crane is really tall!). Ultimately she then flew off. I
sighted her again today foraging in another area about three miles away,
again near the Lemon Fair River. The three occasions that Mary and/or
I've seen her she has been very relaxed, foraging, near shallow water,
and where the vegetation was five feet or less tall. There were always
gulls present and in two occasions there were ducks as well.
This is a very large bird; when I spotted her today I saw her first from
more than a mile away as I was driving.
The places we have seen her will continue to dry in the next 5-10 days,
they being part of the many inches of rain that recently fell in parts
of Addison County (we had 7" at our house at the southern end of Snake
Mountain in Cornwall). Consequently, much of the habitat now being used
by the crane will shrink and disappear. Whether or not there will be
continuous acceptable habitat through the summer is unknown.
The Lemon Fair river runs slowly northward from Orwell and Whiting,
through Shorham, Bridport, Cornwall, and Weybridge (where it enters
Otter Creek). There are many low, often wet areas along it.
David contacted the research biologists in Wisconsin and they ask that
persons viewing the bird do so at some distance so that she will not
become accustomed to people. Recommended minimum distances for
approaching and viewing are 200 meters (i.e. two football field lengths)
if you are on foot, and 100 meters if you are approaching the bird by
car along a roadside (stay in the car for viewing). It is not
recommended that the bird be sought via ATV.
Do respect landowners and planted fields.
If you sight the bird, please record your sighting with David at:
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I personally don't happen to know of an observation of a Whooping Crane
east of Michigan, but I am sure that some one of you out there can tell
us if there are any.
Ian A. Worley
Last Thursday, June 9th we had an unexpected visitor in our back yard at
> Dead Creek. The whooping crane was from the reintroduced population in
> Wisconsin. The research biologists told me the last time they had a visual
> was May 8th and the last report called in was June 6th in Ontario, along the
> St. Lawrence. The bird is a female with colored leg bands on each leg;
> yellow over green on the left leg and green over orange on the right leg.
> They asked that we help by forwarding any sighting to them and now I am
> asking everyone to keep their eyes open and report any sightings to me. The
> bird only stayed the one day. We did not find it during searches of the
> area Friday thru Sunday. Please distribute to anyone you think can help
> keep an eye out. If the bird stays in one area long enough the USFWS will
> send a capture team out for it. You will usually seen them in open fields
> and wetlands foraging and they should roost over water for protection. The
> bird stands out because of its size, white color contrasting against the
> fields and marsh, and the red skull cap.