Two species of cranes are native to North America, including the Great Lakes. The Sandhill Crane is more common than the Whooping Crane and likely always has been. One hundred years ago, however, Sandhill Cranes had been reduced to fewer than 100 breeding pairs in the Midwest while Whooping Cranes were on the brink of extinction (fewer than 20 birds). Due to a ban on hunting, reduction of wetland conversion, and human intervention, both Sandhill and Whooping Cranes have rebounded throughout their range.
On Friday, we will travel to the land up north (Wisconsin, eh) to observe both Sandhill and Whooping Cranes! Registrants will meet at the Rockford Truck and Auto Plaza, where you will leave your cars safely parked, at 12:00 PM on Friday afternoon. We will then travel by van to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge to locate a variety of wildlife: waterfowl including Trumpeter Swans and marsh birds including Sandhill Cranes and (hopefully) Whooping Cranes. On Saturday morning, we will start with a visit to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin where we will meet all 15 species of cranes found on five of the seven continents. We will then visit the Aldo Leopold Foundation and learn about the history of wildlife conservation that started in Wisconsin. Just before sunset, we will watch cranes fly into roost along the Wisconsin River. On Sunday, we will return back to Illinois, stopping at the rendezvous location before returning to Springfield.
Registrants will be responsible for making their own hotel reservations. A block of rooms has been set at the AmericInn, Lake Delton at a rate of $108.00 (plus tax), breakfast included. 608.254.1700. Please mention the “Illinois Audubon Society” block when making your reservation. Reservation needs to occur before September 29, 2023 to guarantee lodging at this special rate.
Trip Leader: Matt Hayes
Cost of trip includes transportation, entrance fees, snacks, water, dinner Friday and Saturday night and lunch Saturday.
Maximum Field Trip Capacity: 10
Cost: $150 plus a nonperishable canned food item