Wired! Black Crowned Crane

The International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI maintains a collection of captive cranes, including several black crowned cranes, which helps their work in crane preservation: captive breeding and reintroduction into the wild. Their work also demonstrates endangered species management for the public, and facilitates breeding and education information elsewhere in the United States and abroad. It is the only place in the world where you can see all 15 crane species.

Black Crowned Crane

Black Crowned Crane Β© 2008

When I visited the Crane Foundation earlier this month, this crane was especially interested in my camera, and made several attempts to get a little too close. Maybe I didn’t ask for the appropriate model release!

The Black Crowned Crane is indigenous to the Sahel region of Africa. The ICF in coordination with Wetlands International has coordinated a conservation plan for these birds. There are approximately 40,000 Black Crowned Cranes in existence, and their numbers are declining.

The most serious threats to this crane species are illegal capture for the pet industry. An ancient tradition in West Africa to keep domesticated cranes in the household compounds persists to this day. But an additional threat is an intensified international trade in the birds in the last 30 years. Also degradation of the species’ habitat – the wetlands and grasslands of West Africa due to drought, destruction of tree cover and overgrazing – is a factor in their declining numbers.

A regional African program has been set up to provide alternative income opportunities for crane traders and for distribution of community-based information and conservation methods in Nigeria and the Sudan.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Great photo!

  2. Ron in L.A. says:

    He looks guilty… πŸ˜‰

    R(etc… )

  3. Have never seen a bird like this! Love how he’s sticking his beak thru the fence. Great moment!!!

  4. That’s a great photo! Talk about an intense look!

  5. I agree with Montucky. That is an intense gaze. Reminds me of what Big Bird might look like if he were P.O.d. Wow!!
    It is a fascinating photo.

  6. Wow! What an intense stare! I really, really like this capture—the intense, bright crane framed in fence. Yes, I agree with Gandalf; it is a fascinating photo. πŸ™‚

  7. Love it. Such an intense look on its face.

  8. That crane looks like one mean hombre.

  9. I can kind of see why they get captured for pets. What a delightfully weird little bird. I agree with montucky, Laurie and Anna- it is a heck of an intense stare. Talk about a direct gaze….

  10. haha, thats an awesome shot!

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