Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I and the Bird #100: The Whooping Crane

I just returned from an exciting visit to Washington D.C. where I joined Operation Migration during the May 7th celebration of the Partners in Conservation Awards presented by Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. What a thrill to be on this stage with a team that has worked so hard. And what an honor to be among hundreds of individuals who dedicate their lives to conservation.
The Whooping crane, a species that numbered only 15 in the early 1940’s, has been a driving inspiration for my art since I began creating watercolors and gourd art in 2000.
Every work of art begins with observation and sketching. It is this time and study that brings the subject into focus and into your heart and inspires you to spill it back out into your art.
Right now the Whooping cranes at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin are beginning to re-nest after been driven off their first nests by swarming black flies. We have our fingers crossed that their second nesting attempts will be successful and produce wild hatched chicks. In the meantime, incubated eggs in captive breeding programs are hatching and our first captive-raised chicks are on the ground preparing for their place in the migration class of 2009. It's a time for hope and excitement.
It took many people many years of hard work to bring Whooping cranes back from the brink of extinction. And with the first ultralight-led migration in 2001, Whooping cranes were seen in the east for the first time in over 100 years.

Every effort and every voice made a difference. And I can't think of a better way to say 'thank you' to all those people than to celebrate the 100th edition of I And The Bird with this expression of gratitude for our Whooping cranes and for all the birds of our world.
To see a special video clip of Whooping crane parents with their chick, click here. To see more of my posts on ultralight migration click here. And pay a visit to Operation Migration's field journal to keep up to date on the progress of the eastern population's nesting and hatching progress.


  1. Beautiful work, Vickie!!!

  2. What a wonderful post, Vickie, thank you! Your painting of the chick is stunning...and congratulations to all who worked to bring back this magnificent bird!

  3. Incredible work - the paintings and observations as well as your work to support the cranes! I learned so much just browsing through the links you provided, thank you. Your work shows a wonderful connection to these birds - I can feel that deep inspiration spilling back into them!

  4. Your post touched my heart! What beautiful art you've created and what a tremendous and successful cause!!

  5. Vickie what an excellent post. I'm so proud for you and congratulations. It's even better that I get to see your work on this blog and chat with you. WOnderful work and I've always been fascinated by the Crane and Heron family of birds. I see them all the time and do drawings and paintings..but now like yours. Super job!

  6. Thank you, everyone! Your comments are so appreciated.


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