A hooded crane, normally seen only in Asia, has been spotted at Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) in Greene County, near Linton, Indiana.
The bird’s Indiana location is about 7,000 miles from its traditional home range. Hooded cranes nest in southeastern Russia and northern China and winter in southern Japan.
This bird is not new to the U.S., however. It is believed to be the same hooded crane spotted at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee earlier this winter.
No on can be sure how the hooded crane ended up so far from home. However, some sandhill cranes, a cousin to the hooded crane, migrate from Asia to the southeastern United States. The hooded crane may have followed those sandhill cranes, and may now be returning with them on their northwestern route back to Asian nesting grounds.
Goose Pond FWA is an 8,000-acre property of restored wetlands and prairie that is owned and managed by DNR and located near Linton. The property opened in 2005 and is a regional destination for bird watching and waterfowl hunting. About 260 different bird species have been spotted at Goose Pond FWA.
“This wetland habitat is kind of rare in this part of the state,” Goose Pond FWA property manager Brad Feaster said. “So it’s a magnet for water birds of all sorts. When they are flying in the air, this place sticks out.”
Hooded cranes are about 3 feet tall. They have a red and black crown on an otherwise white head and a charcoal colored body. The International Crane Foundation estimates the world population of hooded cranes around 9,500.
The bird was first spotted at Goose Pond FWA by bird watchers on Wednesday, February 8. The hooded crane has been spending its time in Beehunter Marsh on the northeast side of Goose Pond FWA. A map at the Beehunter Marsh information booth will direct visitors to an area where they are most likely to see the bird.
The DNR asks that visitors to Goose Pond FWA abide by the following recommendations:
An overall map of Goose Pond FWA is available by clicking the “maps” tab on this page.