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Monday, November 25, 2013

Whooping Crane Part I: Art Contest Suggestion #2

Each year, we award $45,000 in college scholarships and awards to Louisiana high school juniors and seniors. For our 2014 Art Contest our theme is "Louisiana's Natural Beauty" and our partner is Audubon Nature Institute

Over the next few weeks, we will suggest various Louisiana animals and plants that students may want to use in their artwork entries. Deadline for the contest is February 12, 2014. Click here to learn how to enter.

Scientific Name: Grus americana

Only two species of cranes occur in North America. Today, sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) are prevalent.  Whooping cranes (Grus americana) suffered severe population decline, and by 1944 only 21 could be counted, with the species continued persistence in peril. Whooping cranes were added to federal endangered species status on March 11, 1967. As of Jan. 31, 2011 approximately 565 individuals survive (Stehn, 2011). (pictured below, Morning Heron by Christopher Stafford, not a Whooping Crane but the heron is often confused for the whoooper and this entry won a $1,000 scholarship in our 2010 art contest)

It is the tallest North American bird at 5 feet.  Adults are mostly white with a red head crown and a long, dark, pointed bill. They have long dark legs which trail behind in flight and a long neck that is kept straight in flight. Black wing tips can also be seen in flight. Immature birds are pale brown.  These birds forage while walking in shallow water or in fields, often probing with their bills. They are omnivorous, eating insects, aquatic plants and animals, crustaceans, seeds, and berries.

This species' name comes from its whooping call. The whooping crane is endangered mainly as a result of habitat loss and illegal take. Southwest Louisiana was once important wintering range for migrant whooping cranes and until the mid-twentieth century, the site of the only resident nesting colony in the U.S., but they were absent for over 60 years.

Due to their historical presence in Louisiana, in Feb. 2011 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries re-established a resident population at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area, located in Vermilion Parish.

We hope you will considering painting, photograhing or drawing the Whooping Crane in your art contest entry. Click here to learn how to enter.

American Alligator: Art Contest Suggestion #1
Whooping Crane Part I: Art Contest Suggestion #2 
Louisiana Black Bear: Art Contest Suggestion #3 
Louisiana Live Oak: Art Contest Suggestion #4 

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