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Subject:[mou-net] Whooping Cranes, Rice County
From:linda whyte <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:linda whyte <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 21 May 2011 22:57:44 -0600

Tonight an alert friend gave us the gift of a Lifer, texting around
6:00 (I think) that he'd spotted Whooping Cranes just inside the Rice
county line, less than a half mile west of Dennison. The two cranes
were foraging in a small wet pond beside the road, south side, at the
edge of a farm field. Though we were close enough that not even
binoculars were necessary, the birds were relatively unperturbed by
our activities. We did stay on the roadside, however, keeping together
by our scopes and using the car as a buffer otherwise. We had the
opportunity to view the various bands and transmitting equipment on
the birds' legs and will report what we've found. (Our friend has
photos, but we don't know that the numbers are readable.)

Following his departure, we continued to observe the birds until dark.
Many local residents stopped by out of curiosity, and were delighted
to learn more about the visitors. Besides foraging in the field, the
cranes did some foot-stirring of the water surface, and quite a bit of
preening. They also climbed on two very large mounds of plant material
in the water, rooting around in them somewhat, and seemed to run some
of the long cattails through their beaks.

Perhaps the most exciting thing to see was the "dance" display, the
two birds jumping up into the air, first alternating and then in
unison, sometimes side-by-side, and sometimes face-to-face. When we
left they, and some shorebirds, were still feeding, but they seemed to
have settled in for the night. We're hopeful they'll remain at least
awhile, now that we've experienced the Rapture, so to speak.

Linda Whyte

Location (courtesy of our friend): N44.40681 X W093.06510;  nearest
intersection CR 42 and CR 31, and Lamb Ave.; nearest address 12515
Dennison Blvd S., Mn 55018

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