This fall, whooping cranes have been observed in Rice Co. and now LeSueur Co.  Recent  listserv postings have underscored the need to enjoy these birds from a distance as the  whooping crane is a critically imperiled North American species with fewer than 250 birds in a single wild population.  Today, however, concerns were raised by a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist that indicated that it may be helpful to repost this reminder (based on his observations).

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership* asks that when you're lucky enough to see whooping cranes, please do not approach them closely, even in a vehicle, to avoid habituating the birds to human presence. Habituation is one of the greatest dangers that whooping cranes face because it puts them at greater risk from vehicle collisions, predation, and illegal shooting.

We support that request and ask for your support as well.  Many thanks to all who already use special care in viewing these birds!

Lastly the WCEP has a website to report sightings online

Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer
Regional Nongame Wildlife Specialist
 "Extinction is forever"

[* A group of non-profit organizations, individuals and government agencies joining forces to bring a migratory population of whooping cranes back to eastern North America]

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