The main reason I made a trip to Rockport, Texas with a fellow photographer was to photograph the magnificent and endangered Whooping Crane. Not only did I learn a lot about photographing large birds in the wild but I also learned a lot about this wonderful bird. The bird in this photograph is actually a juvenile Whooping Crane. It is identified as a juvenile by the coloring on his head and plumage. Adults have distinctive crimson markings in and around their head while juveniles have a rusty-tan coloring.
Whooping Cranes weigh about 15 pounds and have a wingspan of more than 7 feet. They can reach a height of 5 feet. The bird walks with a smooth and stately gait. Its courtship dance is a spectacle of leaping, kicking, head-pumping, and wing-sweeping. In 1941 there were only 21 Whooping Cranes left, mostly in Texas and Canada. Today there are about 600 Cranes (about 440 in the wild and 160 in captivity). The only self-sustaining population of Whooping Cranes is the naturally occurring flock that breeds in Canada and winters in Texas. Thus, the reason we traveled to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to photograph them. I only wish we could have gotten closer as many of the photos we took were from far away and required the use of our longest lenses. Stay tuned on how we figured out how to get closer to the birds next time.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DSf using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens along with my Canon 1.4x Extender. This set the total focal length to 560 mm. The camera was set on Manual mode with the aperture set at f/8, shutter speed at 1/2000th of a second and the ISO set at ISO 800. This is a single image processed in Lightroom.
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