I give a whoop!

Last Saturday a group of us went to the International Crane Foundation (ICF), located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. There is a nominal fee to get in, and it is the only place in the WORLD where you can see all 15 species of cranes.

This beautiful weather vane beckoned us to the gift shop. Rae, if you want to add this to your collection, just let me know!

The first crane we came upon was this odd looking one with the golden feathers sticking straight up out of its head. This is called a black crowned crane, is 3 feet tall, and weighs in at 8 lbs.

photo courtesy of ICF

We came across this mural and wooden sculptures while walking down the path.

This pond was across from the mural area. It was the heat of the day, and the two cranes were getting relief from the sun by hiding behind some brush under a tall tree in the corner.

This is a Sarus Crane, the tallest of the species at 6 feet, with a wingspan of 8 feet. He weighs in at a whopping 14 pounds!

photo courtesy of ICF

This is a Siberian Crane and stands 5 feet tall, weighing 13 lbs. The oldest documented crane that ever lived was a Siberian Crane named Wolf, who died at the age of 83. Wolf is in the Guinness Book of World Records. (per ICF website)

You may wonder why some of these photos have a large black outline around them like the one above. It's because I tried to take the picture between the gap in the gate and the fence. The other photos are a little blurry because I'm taking the shot through the criss-cross of a chain link fence.

This is a black neck crane, is 4 feet tall, weigh 12 lbs, and was the last of the species to be discovered due to their remoteness of their range in Tibet and India.

photo courtesy of ICF

This is the heaviest of the cranes, the Red Crowned crane, that stands 5 feet tall and can weigh up to 25 lbs!

photo courtesy of ICF

Here is the Brolgra crane, that stands 5 feet tall with a 6 foot wing span. They weigh approximately 13 lbs.

photo courtesy of ICF

The Demoiselle cranes are the smallest of the species, at 3 feet tall and weighing only 4-7 pounds. This crane got its name from Queen Marie Antoinette for its "delicate and maiden-like appearance".

Photo courtesy of ICF

This White Napped Crane is 4 feet and 12 lbs. It is the only one of the crane species that has pinkish colored legs.

photo courtesy of ICF

The ICF grounds were so beautiful with wildflowers growing all over and benches strategically placed.

I don't know what these are called, but I like how they grow all clustered on a long stem.

Baby acorns

The next two photos are white prairie clover. I love how the flowers bloom one right after another on a long stem.

The big hit of the park are the Whooping Cranes. You can hear them "whooping" all over the park. At 5 feet, the Whooping Crane is the tallest North American bird that can fly and weighs anywhere between 14-17 lbs. There are approximately only 400 of these birds in existence, but the number is increasing thanks to places like ICF.

photo courtesy of ICF

Because of the limited number of whooping cranes in the Wisconsin area, fledglings are taught how and where to migrate by following an ultralight flown by a pilot dressed in a white costume to look like a parent whooping crane. Watch this short clip to see this fascinating procedure.

I leave you with this series of photos of sculptures of a crane taking off in flight.

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