Whooping Cranes

Whooping Cranes

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48" x 60" unframed


watercolor, gouache, pencil, ink, and pastel on paper  

The Whooping Crane (Grus americana), the tallest North American bird, is
an endangered species named for its whooping sound. Along with the
Sandhill Crane, it is one of only two crane species found in North America.
In many cultures, cranes are a symbol of happiness, longevity, and good
fortune. In some areas they are even said to be mystical, magical, or even
holy creatures. The crane is a sign of good luck and of good things to

The Whooping Crane's lifespan is between 22 to 24 years in the wild. After
being pushed to the brink of extinction by unregulated hunting and a loss of
habitat to only 21 wild and 2 captive Whooping Cranes by the year 1941,
conservation efforts have led to a limited recovery.The United States
Wildlife and Fisheries estimated the population in the wild to be 505
whooping cranes as of 2017.

They nest on the ground, usually on a raised area in the marsh. The female
lays 1 or 2 eggs. Both parents brood the young, although the female is
more likely to care for them. Usually no more than 1 young bird survives in
a season. The offspring-parent relationship ends after about one year.
“Conservation is sometimes perceived as stopping everything cold, as holding whooping cranes in higher esteem than people. It is up to science to spread the understanding that the choice is not between wild places or people, it is between a rich or an impoverished existence for man.”

-Thomas Lovejoy