This weekend was the 2nd annual CraneFest up near Baraboo, Wisconsin. Two organizations intimately involved in cranes and environmental management offered a look at their work and the birds they love so much. The International Crane Foundation and the Aldo Leopold Foundation are located within a few miles of each other near the Wisconsin River. When these organizations were founded there were few if any Sandhill Cranes in the area around the river. Years of hunting, predation and wetland conversion to farm land had resulted in very low numbers of these birds. Over the years, both foundations have worked with education and environmental reclamations to create conditions leading to a significant increase in Sandhill Crane numbers.
To see large numbers of these birds you'd traditionally have to go over to Nebraska in the spring to see the migration. Thousands of birds stop on the Platte around Kearney, NE on their trip north and are visible all over the local corn fields and on the sandbars in the river. The results of efforts by these foundations, though, have returned the section of Wisconsin River near Baraboo into a similar gathering place for the fall migration. So now there are two places in the Midwest and Great Plains where fans of cranes can see them in huge numbers.
This weekend the Aldo Leopold Foundation set up a tent next to woods bordering the river, along some sandbars where the cranes would take an evening break from their day of foraging in the nearby corn fields. Around dusk they would come flying over the field where the tent was, headed for a landing in the nearby river. Sitting next to the tent gave photographers a view to hundreds of cranes flying right overhead. With the sitting sun lighting them up from the side and bottom there were great image opportunities. I pulled the following out of lots of images I made, liking both the horizontal and vertical compositions.
No comments posted.