Help me identify a wading bird

Oddly enough, there is a remote possibility you are dead right here. The sole flock of wild whooping cranes migrates from Aransas NWR, Texas to Wood Buffalo NP, Alberta, along a flight path that is significantly west of the Wisconsin morainelands, essentially the western Dakotas and adjacent eastern Montana at that latitude. However, this site describes the new whooping crane reintroduction project which is supposed to introduce a second flock which would winter in Florida and breed in Wisconsin. I’d rejected looking up the whoopers because I knew Wisconsin was too far east for their migratory flight; I didn’t know about the introduction project until I looked up what the migration area for the wild flock was.

So QtM, you may have hit the jackpot: a sighting of a wild whooping crane! My hunch, though, is that it was a sandhill.

Well, it did look a bit like this bird:

Which is advertised as a whooping crane on its website.

But frankly I bet it was a sandhill. As much as I’d like to be able to claim that I saw a whooping crane.

Here’s more on the new Wisconsin flock of Whooping Cranes, some of which apparently use the Horicon Wildlife Refuge, close to Qadgop’s sighting.

However, although juvenile Whoopers do have partly cinnamon plumage, by this time of year they probably will have changed to be mostly white, making them a less likely possibility.

Maybe you should pop on over to Horicon. :slight_smile:

The sites I found, said that the juveniles stay brownish for a year. Are you thinking, last year’s babies are already white, but this year’s aren’t big enough to be what Qadgop discribed?
I’m not disagreeing, since I know a little less than nothing about them. :slight_smile:

The sites I checked say that the juveniles gradually become white over their first winter, so I would expect them to be pretty white by now. I wouldn’t think this year’s young would have left the nesting area so soon, and if they had they would almost certainly be together with their parents.