“The Whooping Crane,” by Alison Imbriaco
Enslow Publishers, Incc, Berkeley Heights, N.J., 2006, 128 pages, Grades
Engineering marvels, such as hydroelectric dams, often have unintended
While the electricity produced by such dams benefits society, there is also
a price. This cost comes in the loss of wetland habitat necessary to support
the ecology of an area. This results in nature losing its ability to control
floods and purify water.
Another problem is the environmental changes affect the animal and bird
species that live in this location. As the geography is altered, the food
chain is interrupted. This can harm birds dependent on wetland habitat.
Alison Imbriaco makes an inclusive study of these effects on birds in this
fine work of nonfiction entitled “The Whooping Crane.”
Whooping cranes are nearly five feet in height, making them the tallest
birds in North America. Never existing in large numbers, these majestic
birds migrate each year from northern Canada to southern Texas and Florida.
The distance is nearly 3,000 miles.
With their seven-foot wingspan, and beautiful white feathers tipped in
black, whooping cranes look stunning in flight. About halfway through the
migration, the birds rest along an 80-mile section of the Platte River in
Nebraska. There they are joined by their much more numerous relations, the
At one time the Platte River was wide and shallow, with the river’s waters
and sandbars providing ideal conditions for the cranes to rest on their
In 1941, about 15 birds were left in the migration from Canada to Texas.
While some of the species were housed in zoos, a non-migrating flock of
whooping cranes were wiped out in Louisiana during a hurricane.
But by the early 1970’s, the number of whooping cranes had been reduced to
such an alarmingly low number that the animal’s name was placed on the newly
enacted Endangered Species Act. At long last, we began to see the need to
preserve and protect this beautiful bird.
The primary issues were saving the wetland habitat and increasing the
numbers of whooping cranes. Scientists wanted to establish a second
migrating flock of whooping cranes. The first step was raising a number of
whooping cranes. Secondly, the cranes had to be taught to migrate from
Canada to Florida. This had to be done quickly, as an avian epidemic could
kill all the birds in the original group.
So what happened to the whooping cranes? Were scientists able to get the
eggs needed to start the second flock?
How would you train young whooping cranes to follow you on a 3,000-mile
journey? Then, would they remember their way back to Florida in the winter?
Why has whooping crane watching become so popular in Nebraska? What is the
Rowe Sanctuary? Why has the Endangered Species Act been so successful?
To find out the answers to these questions, go to the library and check out
this interesting title, “The Whooping Crane,” by Alison Imbriaco.
This book is a dedicated study of the whooping crane. The author speaks
about the competing demands on water and wetland areas. She makes a balanced
case for protecting the whooping crane.
There are many helpful graphs and photographs in the book. The habitat
restoration currently underway will help other animal and bird species in
addition to the whooping crane.
I hope you go to the library and check out this fine title. After reading
it, I’m ready to go crane watching. I think you will be as well.
2013 Southern Nebraska Register Publication Dates
(Resume Jan 4, 2014)
November 27 (Wed.)