When Bob Herndon took photos of a whooping crane at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in January 2016, he had no idea that the image would be used as the January image in the Friends of Goose Pond2017 calendar. He had no way of knowing that whooping crane 4-11 would also be shot and killed in either late December 2016 or early January 2017 in a field south of Lyons, not too far from the wildlife area.
“I’ve seen 4-11 a couple of times,” Herndon said of 5-year-old female bird. Most of those times were when he and his wife, Jane, traveled from their home in Sellersburg to Goose Pond and surrounding areas for a weekend of bird watching and fishing. “It’s a well-kept secret that nobody tries to keep,” he said of the fish and wildlife area. “And it’s a great place to go fishing.”
Herndon remembers taking photos of whooping crane 4-11 when he saw the female bird over a rise in the wetlands of the wildlife area. There were a couple whooping cranes close to the road, he recalled. Herndon took a few photographs and then drove by them to make them move back a little farther off the roadway, fearing a vehicle could hit them if it came over the rise quickly.
“It’s sad,” Herndon said of the crane’s death. He looked at the photograph of 4-11 every night in January, while it was displayed on the Friends of Goose Pond calendar. “You kind of get attached to them. You can recognize them from the bands they have on them,” he said, explaining how he learned to identify whooping cranes he saw more than once.
Herndon looked online at the International Crane Foundation website to figure out which birds he had photographed and to read about them. “They have personalities and you kind of develop an attachment,” he said.