Friday, July 18, 2014

A Visit to the International Crane Foundation

After more than a dozen trips to Wisconsin Dells, I've finally visited one of its best attractions. I can't say it's the best, since it's an apples-and-oranges comparison with Dr. Evermore's Forevertron and other sculptures, but the International Crane Foundation is a place I'll want to return to again.

The rules when you visit are simple: Don't imitate the birds' sounds back to them. Don't copy them if they dance. Don't speak to them or try to engage them. If you do, they may try to attack through the fences that enclose them, and damage their bills.

A wattled crane, native to sub-Saharan Africa.

The birds -- the largest representation of cranes from around the world all in one place -- are located in a restored prairie full of flowering native plants and tall grasses that were just hitting their summer stride when I visited.

Yellow coneflower and blue vervain in full bloom.

The foundation isn't just a zoo for cranes. They've managed to restore the whooping crane to the wilds of Wisconsin and work with people around the world in areas where the different species come from to preserve habitat without ignoring economic development for the people.

A native Wisconsin whooping crane as it walks through a wetland area.

A bumblebee visits a white prairie clover plant.

A 6-week-old hooded crane (left), Native to southeastern Siberia and northern China, with its mother.

A gray-crowned crane, native to central Africa. We got to see them do a dance.

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