Crane fans in Wisconsin are talking about a unique chick being raised by a mixed pair of cranes in Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The chick appears to be the offspring of a male Whooping Crane (identified as DAR 16-11) and a female Sandhill Crane.

The chick, who has earned the nickname "Whoopsie" from crane fans, may be the first of its kind. It is certainly the first documented offspring from a mixed Whooping-Sandhill pairing in the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes.

In the 1940s there were just 21 Whooping Cranes left. Since then, groups have been working to save the species and bolster the various flock populations. As of 2011, there were almost 600 birds, including both wild and captive birds.

Whooping Crane DAR 16-11, given the nickname "Grasshopper", was hatched on June 15, 2011. He was costume-reared by International Crane Foundation handlers. At about five months of age, he and his 2011 DAR (Direct Autumn Release) cohorts were released at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in the presence of wild Whooping Cranes. The wild birds show the DAR birds the migration route from their northern breeding grounds to their winter home in Florida.

Whoopsie the Whooping Crane and Sandhill Crane hybrid chick

Earlier this week, the White House reported the sighting of a new guest on their famous grounds -- a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawks are abundant across the United States, and have adapted well to developed areas. Pale Male, New York City's famous hawk, is an example of the large raptor thriving in an urban environment (he and his mate have three young that are about to fledge from their famous nest).

The appearance of a predator on the White House grounds is a good sign for visiting birders, but not so good for any resident rodents living on the property. Red-tailed Hawks prey upon mice, rats, voles, rabbits, and other mammals, as well as other birds, reptiles, and amphibians. This raptor might just earn a spot as a groundskeeper 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Red-tailed Hawk makes a raspy call that is almost always used in popular media as the voice of our national bird, the Bald Eagle? How appropriate would it be to hear the majestic cry of the Red-tailed Hawk while visiting the White House?


Photo by DJ Patil
Birdorable Saker Falcon

The Saker Falcon is one of our newest additions to Birdorable. The falcon, which is almost as large as the Gyrfalcon, breeds across parts of eastern Europe and much of central Asia. They prefer open plains and desert-type habitats and hunt by horizontal pursuit unlike the Peregrine Falcon that hovers and stoops down from great heights.

Saker Falcons are beautiful birds, with brown upperparts and contrasting grey flight feathers. The head and underparts are paler brown, with streaking from the breast down. The birds are excellent hunters and often take on prey that is larger than itself. Because they are so swift and powerful they are a popular falconry bird and have been used by humans in hunting for thousands of years.

In the Arabian Peninsula falconry is an integral part of desert life and Saker Falcons are the favorite bird of many Arab falconers. The birds are trapped in Arab countries on their migration to the Middle East or caught throughout Asia and sold to the Middle Eastern falcon market. Unfortunately this is one of the reasons the bird has been put on the endangered species list. Thousands of falcons are caught every year and sold illegally on the black market. In addition the species is facing pressure from habitat loss and destruction.

In contrast, the bird is strongly protected in Hungary, where it is the national bird. Even though Saker Falcons are relatively abundant in Hungary, numbers are still low; the estimated total European population  in 2010 was just 450 pairs, with 40% of these in Hungary and Slovakia. The Middle East Falcon Research Group has a nice table with estimated breeding populations in each country.

Check out these websites for more information about the Saker Falcon:

Sakervalk
Sakervalk by Tim Strater
ginebra, halcón sacre 02 - Saker falcon - Falco cherrug
Halcón Sacre by Ferran Pestaña

Saker Falcon Gifts by Birdorable

A Birdorable Cockatiel face is repeated in a four-square pattern on this women's American Apparel T-Shirt. The cartoon cockatiels are rotated through the design - mimicking the acrobatic stylings of this charismatic species! This original graphic tee makes a great gift for anyone that loves Cockatiels! Check out our other products with this design and fine more designs with our Birdorable Cockatiel.

Birdorable Four Color Cockatiel Women's T-Shirt

You can customize this design on many different t-shirt styles and colors. Here are some examples:

Four Color Cockatiel Graphic Tees

Today we've added our 600th Birdorable bird: the Tawny Owl!

Cartoon Birdorable Tawny Owl

The Tawny Owl is the most widespread species of owl across Europe. Tawny Owls are also found in western parts of Asia and northern Africa.

Tawny Owls are recognized by their tawny brown striped body plumage, large round heads which lack ear-tufts, and oversized brown eyes.

The Tawny Owl is primarily nocturnal, hunting prey items like small mammals and large insects. They prefer wooded habitat. They have adapted well to human development and will also inhabit parks and gardens.

The Tawny Owl joins Birdorable today as our 600th species! With the Tawny Owl, we now have 127 species found in Europe and 12 total species of owl in the Birdorable family.

Cute Tawny Owl Gifts

Today's featured t-shirt is our Birdorable Swallow-tailed Kite in flight on this Women's Jersey T-Shirt. Swallow-tailed Kites live throughout South America and migrate to Central America and the gulf states in the US. Did you know that these birds pick off insects, lizards and other small animals from treetops as they soar through the sky, then eating them on the fly? Pretty cool, he? Check out all our cute Swallow-tailed Kite gifts for birders and bird lovers and have a look at our other birds of prey from around the world.

Birdorable T-Shirt with Swallow-tailed Kit in Flight

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated on May 5th in the United States and Mexico.

Do you recognize all the birds in this picture? These birds can be found in Mexico. They are from top-left: Green Kingfisher, Green Jay, Black-crested Titmouse, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Crested Caracara, Scarlet Macaw, Roadside Hawk, White-fronted Amazon and Great Kiskadee.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo with Birdorable birds

We recently added a couple of new coloring pages and we now have 100 different ones for your coloring pleasure. From Attwater's Prairie Chicken to White-rumped Vulture, we have birds from around the world, all cutified in the original Birdorable style. After downloading your favorites from our coloring pages section you can head over to Meet the Birds to view the original colors of each bird.

Birdorable Coloring Pages with Cute Birds

Have you used one of our coloring pages or other activity pages by yourself or at an educational event? Please let us know. We'd love to see photos of our fun downloads in action. We may even use your photos on our website if you give us permission.

Here are some pictures of our coloring pages in action at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida:

Birdorable Coloring Pages at Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida
Birdorable Coloring Pages at Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida

This week's highlighted t-shirt design features a cute pair of Sandhill Cranes in flight, shown here on our customizable Basic Long Sleeve T-Shirt from Zazzle. The cartoon birds on this graphic tee are illustrated in our signature Birdorable style. You can customize this gift by moving the birds around, changing the background color or style, and adding text or images -- make it your own! This will make a great gift for crane fans and birders. For more Birdorable cranes visit our new Cranes of the World page.

Sandhill Cranes in Flight Basic Long Sleeve T-Shirt

More t-shirt styles with this design

Birdorable cranes from around the world

We're wrapping up our week-long celebration of cranes with some more cool crane facts. These extreme facts show how diverse this amazing family of birds can be.

Oldest Crane
The average lifespan for wild cranes is typically between 20 years and 30 years. The longevity record for all crane species goes to the Siberian Crane. A bird living at the National Zoological Park of the Smithsonian Institute reached the ripe old age of 62! That bird passed in 1968. Another Siberian Crane, named Wolf, is in the Guinness Book of World Records for reaching 83 years of age!

Most Abundant
There are more Sandhill Cranes than any other species of crane in the world. There are an estimated 650,000 Sandhill Cranes found across North America.

Longest Migration
The Siberian Crane may fly up to 10,000 miles round trip in a year. Some birds breed in western Siberia and winter as far south as parts of India.

Most Endangered
With an estimated wild population of just over 430 birds, the Whooping Crane is the least abundant of all crane species. They have a conservation status of Endangered and are the subjects of conservation efforts from several groups. Whooping Cranes do breed in captivity and there are over 165 individuals at zoological facilities throughout the world.

Fancy Footwork
While all crane species perform some kind of dancing ritual as part of courtship and pair-bonding, Red-crowned Cranes are especially known for their fancy footwork. Pairs of Red-crowned Cranes will duet as they dance, moving rhythmically as they approach one another.



Highest Flyer
The Common Crane is one high-flying species! One bird was recorded flying at an altitude of up to 33,000 feet over the Himalayas. This record is second only to the Rüppell's Vulture flying up to an altitude of 37,000 feet.

Ancient Species
Sandhill Cranes have been around a very long time. In fact, their fossil history is among the longest of any living bird. Sandhill Crane fossils up to 2.5 million years old have been found.

Can't get enough of these amazing birds? Be sure to check out our great collection of cute and original crane apparel and gifts.

Birdorable Crane Gifts