Photo of whooping cranes goes international

A whooping crane pair with their chick.
A whooping crane pair with their chick.(LDWF biologist Sara Zimorski)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:25 AM CDT
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Baton Rouge, LA (KPLC) - Some Louisiana wildlife is piquing interest internationally as a photo of whooping cranes in Avoyelles Parish recently appeared in a popular Australian newspaper.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologist Sara Zimorski, who oversees LDWF’s Whooping Crane Reintroduction Program, took a beautiful photo of a whooping crane pair, along with its chick, in March just 11 days after the chick hatched.

The photo, with the pair, heads held high at the same angle, making a call, was selected by the Sydney Morning Herald as one of its top 10 photos from around the world in its Sept. 10 edition.

“Crane pairs exhibit a lot of synchronous behavior – particularly threats and calls,’’ Zimorski said. “But it really was just luck how perfectly in sync their spacing and the position of their heads and beaks were for the picture.’’

Zimorski was doing fieldwork that day and had brought along a camera with a telephoto lens. She said they knew the pair had a young chick and, because the parents generally take the chick off the nest within a few days, they are able to get out to the nest to collect habitat and nest measurement data without disturbing the birds.

“When I was finished and ready to leave they had crossed the farm road and were back in the nest field,’’ Zimorski said. “So when I was leaving I took our UTV along that farm road and caught that view of them from behind. They kept moving away from me, probably back to the nest and I just got lucky with that photo.’’