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An Unusual Visitor
On December 13th, a couple of bird watchers were at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee, looking at the large numbers of Sandhill Cranes that winter there when they spotted a bird that looked different. They pointed it out to another birder who confirmed that it was indeed something very different. Next, the bird watchers contacted an intern with the International Crane Foundation (ICF) who was keeping track of some Whooping Cranes in the area. She took some photos of the bird and sent them up to ICF to find out what kind of bird it was. It turned out to be a Hooded Crane! At times, people could see 3 crane species at once: Sandhill, Whooping, and Hooded. Can you spot all three in the picture I took?

Courtesy of Dr. David Aborn, University of Tennessee

A Whooping crane and a Hooded crane among many Sandhill cranes at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee.