Hey lookit! It's a whooping crane! This was a pleasant surprise, definitely wasn't expecting to come across any whooping cranes any time soon. She (yes she- her name is Latka and she was hatched on June 13, 2013) was hanging out with a pretty big sandhill flock (about 8oish). She was banded and luckily, with the big boy lens I could read the bands...which is why I know her life story now, which is kinda fun. If you're not aware, whooping cranes are one of the most endangered birds in North America, with less than 400 of them in the wild. I've seen them a couple times on the Texas coast, so it was pretty cool to see Latka in Wisconsin.
Respect these guys, guys! They've been way too close to extinction in the past (at one point, there were only 16 in the wild. Shit. Unacceptable.) Reintroduction and captive breeding have really helped these birds out and their numbers are up, but they definitely still need our help.