My whooping crane biologist friends often refer to mature whooping cranes in the east as “white” birds, distinguishing them from juveniles. The palette of cinnamon among new white feathers and black wing-tips is truly beautiful on whooping crane fledglings. Add to this combination a young peeping voice and magestic wings that span nearly seven feet and you have glimpsed some of the wonder of this tallest bird in North America. Gradually, by the end of their first year, these young whooping cranes lose their cinnamon feathers and develop the facial mask that is characteristic of adults.They also lose their peeping voice and develop the distinctive whooping calls that earned this species its name, a call that can be heard as far away as two miles.
While visiting Necedah for Cranefest, I had the enjoyable experience of touring the refuge with several other Operation Migration directors. Our knowledgeable guide and storyteller was Brook Pennypacker, Operation Migration crew member, photographed here while wearing the costume that helps keep our captive-reared whooping cranes wild and unaccustomed to the human figure.Among the other white birds we viewed was this family of trumpeter swans.
Not only was it a pleasant surprise to get a glimpse of this family, the photo itself was a surprise.It was taken from a moving vehicle with the camera stretched across another passenger to access the open window. I have to give the credit here to my talented camera, the amazing Canon Rebel Xti!
There are three signets in the photo but you have to look a bit more carefully to find the third. There were many wonderful things to see at the refuge that I missed and will look forward to seeing the next visit, among them the endangered gray wolves and karner blue butterflies.But black-eyed Susans and blue asters were easily accessible, scattered along forest edges and meadows, never failing to catch my attention.
Soothing to the eye and close at hand, their splash of color complimented a rich landscape rapidly changing into fall foliage.
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.