Here are some shots from my visit to Nygren Wetlands Preserve in northern IL today. We have a group of five Whooping Cranes here on a temporary stop from their migration south. They are most likely part of a project to re-establish their population, Operation Migration, from the brink of extinction in the 40's. Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, along with many others raises chicks to adulthood and then leads them south with an Ultra-light aircraft to teach them the migration route. These five cranes must be from previous years because the ultra-light lead group passed through the area weeks ago. Here is a link to keep up with their progress: http://www.operationmigration.org/Field_Journal.html
Anyway, very neat experience to see them in the wild and doing well.