Baraboo, Wis- The International Crane foundation was one of the most relaxing and tranquil places that I visited while in Wisconsin. Set in a rural farm land area not far from the downtown area of Baraboo or the Wisconsin Dells, The International Crane Foundationn or ICF is a peaceful and beautiful getaway. The paths and trails are well maintained and lead through areas of native wild flowers and plants. There are over 275 different plant species here on the 120 acre prairie,wetlands and oak savanna restoration area.
The ICF is home to 15 different species of Cranes, from the smaller Black-crowned Crane to the over 5ft. Tall Red-crowned crane. These graceful intelligent cranes are easy to photograph and will come up to the fence enclosures, They can be very territorial and will watch you closely as you take pictures and then walk away. I was able to witness and catch on film several mating dances and vocalizing.
The Whooping Crane enclosure offers a covered amphitheatre with rows of seats, The Whooping cranes are on their own schedule and do as they please. I sit there chatting with two ladies to fill the time. They tell me that they come here several times a year and the Whooping cranes almost always come to the viewing area to see whats going on.
Our patience is rewarded as the pair of whooping cranes make their entrances. The male boldly wades through the pond area, Offering us plenty of picture taking opportunity. He does this several times and then pauses majestically. We all laugh and discuss about him being so regal.
His mate ventures through the tall grasses and seems preoccupied with hunting for a live morsel of food. I feel kinda spoiled at this point to have been able to take so many close-up pictures. I bid the ladies and the whooping cranes a good day and set off to take photos of the rest of the cranes.
The Brolga, a crane species from Australia makes a display of walking up to the fence with their wings and feathers fluttering. I start to wonder if the cranes are attracted to bright colors, I am wearing a vivid teal colored hoodie but having worked with animals and knowing some behavioral science, I decide that they are just being territorial. This is no a bad thing as it provides people with a chance to capture live action photos and close-ups.
These cranes are wild at heart and beautiful to see alive. The goal of the international crane foundation
works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds and flyways on which they depend. ICF is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to these ecosystems.
The ICF was created by International Crane Foundation Co-founders Ron Sauey and George Archibald who met in 1971 at Cornell University, where they studied ornithology and shared a passion for cranes. The young researchers envisioned an organization that would combine research, captive breeding and reintroduction, landscape restoration, and education to safeguard the world's 15 crane species. In 1973, with the generosity of the Sauey family and the use of their horse farm in Baraboo, Wisconsin, the International Crane Foundation was founded.
For more information on planning a trip to ICF or to donate please go to http://www.savingcranes.org/
International Crane Foundation
E11376 Shady Lane Rd,
Baraboo, Wis., 53913.
April 15 and October 31 from 9 am to 5 pm.
Seniors/students with valid I.D.(62 and over) 8.00
Youth (6-17) 5.00
Children 5 and under free