Thursday, March 31, 2022

Whoop, Whoop! The Whooping Cranes Visited Again

March 25, 2022

Whoop! Whoop!

Whooping cranes stopped by for an impromptu visit March 25. The neighbor's wheat field was the rest stop of choice for two of the cranes. My little camera can't handle that distance, though I gave it the old college try. With a little creative cropping and enlarging, I got a few mediocre images.

March 25, 2022

Randy has become quite compliant with my requests to hold still and smile for yet another photo. Kinley and Brooke have also grown used to Grandma's constant need for them to pose for the camera and flash their smiles. The whooping cranes evidently didn't get the same memo.

Even though I advanced toward them slowly and stayed in the car, they still kept ambling their way a little further away from the road. Still, I got a few recognizable snapshots.

The Whooping Crane is the tallest North American bird at 5 feet tall and has a 7- to 8-foot wing spread. Adults are white with black wing tips and a red face. Young cranes may be whitish gray with rusty wash color on their head and neck and scattered reddish brown feathers over their back and sides, according to the National Wildlife Service.

I took this photo of whooping cranes in the fall of 2019. We had six that stayed in our area for several days. We only saw the two in the recent sighting on March 25.

We live only a couple of miles from Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Whooping cranes have been spotted there, too. I'm not sure whether these are the same group or a separate one. 

I made this collage from photos taken at Quivira's Education Center in 2013. Kinley and Grandpa were my models at the time.

Whooping Cranes are regular spring and fall transients through our part of Kansas, generally passing through the marked corridor in March-April and October-November.


Preferred resting areas are wetlands in level to moderately rolling terrain away from human activity where low, sparse vegetation permits ease of movement and an open view. During migration, cranes feed on grain, frogs, crayfish, grasshoppers, fish, crickets, spiders, and aquatic plants. (From NWS)


Photos from 2020, Kim's County Line

 For the past several years, we had the visitors on some of our farm ground or nearby. Whether I get the "model worthy" photo or not, it's still a thrill to see them on their migration journey.

Two distinct migratory populations summer in northwestern Canada and central Wisconsin and winter along the Gulf Coast of Texas and the southeastern United States, respectively. Those are the cranes that travel through our area. 

Small, non-migratory populations live in central Florida and coastal Louisiana.


  1. Beautiful birds! No wonder you get excited whenever you get to see them.

    1. They are! And it doesn't happen frequently, which makes it more special, I suppose.