Whooping cranes in Peoria County

March 25, 2010 at 04:57 PM

At first Rick Fox didn’t believe his eyes. Standing in a wet cornfield across from his house on Ivy Lake Road were what looked to be two whooping cranes.

After grabbing binoculars he confirmed the sighting near the Audubon tract just north of Caterpillar’s Mossville complex.

“It was awesome,” said Fox, who earlier that same day spotted 26 sandhill cranes in the same area.

The adult whoopers wore leg bands and radio transmitters and spent Monday night and part of Tuesday morning in the field. “It’s by far our best backyard bird sighting,” Tracy Fox said. “We could see them from our driveway.”

This is at least the third time the endangered cranes have visited Peoria County in the past three years. In the fall of 2007 six juvenile whoopers spent more than a month at a wetland near Edelstein. Last year three whoopers lingered in Peoria County from Nov. 10-20.