Trip to the Audobon Center and my first crane nest

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March 12th 2010
Published: March 14th 2010
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chick from Ocean Springschick from Ocean Springschick from Ocean Springs

this is the one who was the first crane egg I saw. also still the only chick that we still know is alive. he (or she) is much bigger now!
Thursday was great. After all the physical exursion of tuesday and wednesday, it was a much more chill day. Ingrid and I drove up to New Orleans to the Audobon center up there in order to pick up 2 sandhill cranes and take them back to the refuge, in the hopes that they will serve as foster parents. So lots of time in the car, which was fine by me! We got a tad lost on the way there, but end result was that we got it all sorted out and eventually made it there (took nearly 3 hours instead of 2. whoops!). The girl we worked with at the audobon place was super nice. She helped us load the cranes (in crates) into the truck bed and secure there. Then she let us have a little tour of the area. Got to see many sandhill cranes up close for the first time, and even more exciting, got to see 2 Whooping Cranes!! They are so impressive. HUGE and white and awesome. They were nesting so they were both doing threat movements to keep us away. This involved a very exaggerated walk, that to us just looks hilarious, but I guess
Crane parent with chickCrane parent with chickCrane parent with chick

as seen from helicopter. this is from the first nest attempt at ben williams... the area I talk about here where we tried to find the nest without success. later did find the nest, and eventually this chick hatched, although it didn't survive. :(
in the bird community it is pretty intimidating. hehe Anyway I was excited cause I did a report on whooping cranes back in grade school and I remember thinking they were so cool, so getting to see them in person was awesome. 😊

The drive back went without a hitch. After lunch and all that jazz we went to see them get released into one of the pens on the refuge. So cool! Was only a few feet from them! 😊 So all in all, a very good day.

Friday was equally awesome. Got a lot accomplished in the morning and then got to go out on my own to do some of the driving route and listen for the birds. This was my first time attempting it by myself. It went quite well. But I was in the area I am most familiar with. We shall see how it goes when I do a different section that I am much less familiar with. After lunch all the bio people (and Tamaki, our Japanese guest) went out to go nest searching. There were 2 sets of cranes that they believed already made a nest so our hope was to go to the first one and try to find it (they have a general idea of where it should be). This involved walking a transect (all of us in a line, a few meters apart) through swamp looking for a nest. No such luck. We flushed the birds (caused them to fly away) and when that happens they only like to stay for 12minutes because they don't want the birds to never come back to the nest. We didn't find the nest in that time so we had to leave. Which was a bummer. But then we drove to ocean Springs where they thought the other nest was and that one was found immediately and so I got to see my first fresh crane nest, complete with 2 eggs!!! So cool!! I was very excited 😊 It was a good end to the week.

Then Friday night Lauren (our boss) invited us out. Ended up she was just at a friend's house having a bonfire but she still invited us which was really sweet of her. And it was a lot of fun! We got there much later than everyone else (long story) but we still hung out with them for about an hour, just sitting around the fire talking. Oh and Lauren and her friend both had their dogs there so I got to play with two adorable puppies. 😊 All of Lauren's friends were really nice. We had met two of them before, the first night we were here when we got pizza as a farewell for the other interns. They are two of the nicest people ever. Allie (it was her house we were at for the bonfire) has chickens and so she gets her own eggs and she totally offered to give us some any time we want. And she told us she has a spare room with 2 twin beds and said that if we ever needed a place to crash we were welcome to come over. So nice! 😊

Around 11 we left and followed lauren to her house, dropped off her dog and then she took us to a local bar, where a band she new was playing. It was really fun! The band was great. Stayed there til a bit after 12 and then decided we should call it a night. Overall, a great time was had by all. 😊


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