Approximately 250 wild whooping cranes nest in northern Canada and winter in south Texas, flying 2,500 miles annually between these two distinct havens: the coastal marshes of the Gulf of Mexico and the boreal wilderness on the border of Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Through twists of good fortune, each of these terminal migratory places is protected from human encroachment—by a U.S. national wildlife refuge on the one hand and a Canadian national park on the other. This last remaining natural flock of the species, its numbers small but slowly increasing, has thus become known by the names of its sanctuaries: Aransas–Wood Buffalo.
On the flock’s wintering grounds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, photographer Klaus Nigge has captured the daily activity of a single family over several weeks in two separate years, documenting their life in the salt marshes of the central Texas coast and, in one year, the happy arrival from the north of twin adolescents, itself an unusual event. Then, with the backing of National Geographic magazine, he received unprecedented permission from the Canadian government to photograph the cranes’ summer nesting sites in remote areas of Wood Buffalo National Park. To obtain these unique photographs, he sat in a cleverly constructed blind for six days and nights, watching as a chick hatched and the adults cared for their young. There he witnessed both the peace and the perils of the cranes’ summer haven.
In three galleries, each containing portfolios of images of these magnificent birds in their natural habitat, Nigge captures the beauty and essential mystery that have led humans the world over to include cranes in their earliest myths and legends. Additionally, Nigge has written vignettes to accompany each of the portfolios.
Krista Schlyer provides an introductory text that affords an overview of crane history. She chronicles the monumental efforts by humans to ensure the survival of the species and has added a profile of Nigge, outlining his extraordinary entry into the world of wild whooping cranes in order to acquire these breathtaking photographs.
See the recent article in National Geographic here.
KLAUS NIGGE’s photographs can be seen in the National Geographic Image Collection and on his website, www.nigge.com. He is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and a former president of the Society of German Nature Photographers (Gesellschaft Deutscher Tierfotografen, GDT). Nigge resides in Luenen, Germany.
KRISTA SCHLYER is a Washington D.C.-based photographer and writer whose articles have appeared in National Parks Magazine, Defenders Magazine, and Wildlife Conservation. A member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, her current work documents the disruptions to both animal and human life caused by the construction of the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
What Readers Are Saying:
"Klaus Nigge's photography captures the rarely seen behavior and astounding grace of whooping cranes. More importantly, his photography gives voice to the cranes' continuing struggle for survival." — Kathy Moran, Senior Editor, Natural History, National Geographic
"Uniquely in the pages of this book, Klaus Nigge takes us for the first time to the nesting habitat of a pair of whooping cranes and their newborn offspring in the wilderness of northern Canada, and also photographically depicts the lives of that migrating population in their more familiar wintering grounds on the Texas coast. . . . I hope a copy of this remarkable book can become a centerpiece in libraries and schools wherever cranes and humans converge."--from the Foreword by George Archibald, Cofounder, International Crane Foundation
"Un beau cadeau a faire a ceux qui aiment les grues."
"...a coffee table book with text...two books in one...Schyler does a reasonable job...a number of Nigge's images from Wood Buffalo NP are compelling...All in all, Whooping Crane: Images from the Wild by Klaus Nigge is worth its asking price of $45.00."--Mike Hannisian, Texas Birds Annual 2011
"...a beautiful coffee table book..."up close and personal" look at the life of whooping cranes...succeeded admirably...excellent Forward...wonderful photographs...taken in two remote areas on the continent that are vital to the cranes survival...no captions...works fine as the viewer "reads" the pictures in logical sequence...present dramatic and beautiful images...anyone who is interested in the lives of birds will enjoy this book. It is a thoughtful and beautiful study of this highly endangered species which is dependent on humanity for its survival. It is also a portrait of the wilderness needed by this impressive bird, and by extension, needed by ourselves."--Jerry Dodd, Journal of American Studies Association of Texas
"The book is a jewels with photographs that captivate and amaze."--Penny Hong, Texas Now