The two whooping cranes, who look to be in love, now know what it feels like to be a celebrity with your every move documented.
The new hottest couple in the whooping crane world are L-4-10, a male, and L-7-11, the young female.
L-4-10 is in the early stages of courting L-7-11 and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are charting their every move. When they are seen together, cameras and binoculars are spying on them.
Sara Zimorski is a biologist for the Wildlife and Fisheries and she has her eye on the young couple and other whooping cranes who are calling the parish home.
She gave the Abbeville Rotary Club an update on the whooping cranes and the new couple.
Based on the two birds’ postures, and behaviors is how the Wildlife agents are able to tell, the two birds are interested in each other, she said.
“You can tell by the calls he makes and then she responds with her calls,” said Zimorksi. “We plan to keep monitoring them and keep habitat data. We will watch more social interaction.”
The reason it’s such a big deal that the two cranes are courting on the Vermilion Parish marshes, south of Gueydan, is because whooping cranes are rare. The are 600 birds left in the world.
L-4-10 (the number 10 is the year the bird was born) is one of only three whooping cranes still alive in Louisiana from the first time the Wildlife and Fisheries released 10 into the wild in March of 2011.
The Wildlife and Fisheries released 16 more young whooping cranes into the parish marsh in December of 2011, and L-7-11 is part of that family.
The good news is that of the 16 released, 15 are still alive. The Wildlife and Fisheries, as of last week, quit putting feed in order for the birds to fend for themselves.
The young birds are hanging around where they were released, which is near White Lake. The first group released last year flew all over south Louisiana and two were shot and killed near Breaux Bridge. This new flock of whooping cranes look to be staying south of Gueydan.
L-4-10, who is a year older, ventured into their pack in the last month. He was not welcomed at first, but he kept coming back. Then he spotted L-7-11, which made him want to be a part of their family, and now has no plans of leaving.
L-4-10 is the wiser bird and a year older than L-7-11, she said.
The Wildlife and Fisheries agents know there will not be a new baby whooping crane for another two years, despite their love. The young female has to be three years old before she can lay an egg. Next year, Zimorksi said she expects them to build a nest together.
“Waiting is the hard part. They have to survive two more years before they can lay eggs,” she said.
Like living in Hollywood, all cameras and eyes will be watching L-4-10 and L-7-11’s every move.