14 Whooping Cranes Spotted in Chicago Park 2 hours, 4 minutes ago
GLENDALE HEIGHTS, Ill. - More than a dozen whooping cranes took temporary refuge at a DuPage County forest preserve, sparking hope among local officials that one of North America's most endangered birds will make the park a regular stop on an annual migratory flight between Wisconsin and Florida.
The 14 whooping cranes, which hatched last year from captive parents, stopped for two nights at the East Branch Forest Preserve near Glendale Heights, west of Chicago, park officials said.
"It's a possibility they could stop in again," said Scott Meister, an animal ecologist for the DuPage County Forest Preserve District.
The birds, which U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service workers have tracked with radio transmitters since leaving Florida's Gulf Coast on March 28, are likely to follow the same migration routes every year, scientists said. They arrived Thursday back at their summer home in Wisconsin's Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.
Only about 350 whooping cranes are thought to live in the wild. The large, white cranes stand about 5 feet tall and have a 7 1/2-foot wing span.
The cranes probably stopped in the forest preserve because it contains low-lying wetlands that the birds prefer when feeding and resting, Meister said.
p.s. The cranes we usually see are Sandhill Cranes - greyish/rust, with red on their heads. Actually prettier than whooping cranes, but not as endangered. This... is amazing! *G*