September, 2012

The inaugural Yampa Valley Crane Festival was held in

Steamboat Springs and Hayden. A GREAT SUCCESS!

Next year’s is already in the planning.










The proposal to hunt our cranes in northwestern Colorado


Evelyn Horn










Photo from International Crane Foundation Free gallery

Man Indicted For Killing Whooping Crane and Witness Tampering in South Dakota

Posted on June 18, 2012 by Chester McConnell

June 18, 2012

Contact: Mark E. Salter
Assistant United States Attorney



United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Miller, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Witness Tampering.

Jeff G. Blachford, age 25, was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 12, 2012. He appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on June 15, 2012, and pled not guilty to the indictment. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 20 years’ custody, a $250,000 fine, or both; not more than 3 years of supervised release; and a $100 special assessment. Restitution may also be ordered.

The charges relate to allegations that in April 2012, Blachford shot and killed an endangered whooping crane and one hawk in Hand County, approximately 17 miles southwest of Miller, South Dakota. Blachford is further alleged to have corruptly persuaded a witness to withhold information from law enforcement officials. The charges are merely accusations, and Blachford is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Whooping cranes are one of the rarest birds in the world with a total population of approximately 600 individuals. The whooping crane killed in this investigation was one of about 300 endangered cranes that migrate from wintering grounds along the gulf coast of Texas to the Woods Buffalo State Park located in Alberta and the Northwest Territories of Canada. This population of whooping cranes is the only self-sustaining population in the world.

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and South Dakota Game Fish and Parks. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Meghan N. Dilges. Blachford was released on bond pending trial.

The Whooping Crane Conservation Association is very pleased with the indictment by the federal grand jury. However, the Association cautions that the case must still be brought to trial and a conviction made before justice is served. The Association has a $10,000 Reward for the “conviction” of the person(s) responsible for the senseless killing of the whooping crane. Contributions to the Reward Fund are still needed. The public is urged to donate to the fund to help convict this and other whooper killings.

Donations (which are tax-deductible) are being requested for the Whooping Crane Conservation Association’s Reward Account. The public is encouraged to donate to this fund. Donations should be mailed to Whooping Crane Conservation Association, 2139 Kennedy Avenue, Loveland, CO, USA 80538 or to donate by credit card click on the link:










Crane Hunt Report

Black Canyon Audubon Society

June 14, 2012

Evelyn Horn


Meetings of the Colorado Parks & Wildlife Commission were held in Grand Junction and in Craig. The agenda included a proposed Crane Hunt in Moffat & Routt counties. Those opposing the crane hunt were well prepared, courteous and dedicated to the birds. The proposal for the hunt was tabled at the Craig meeting.


Photo from International Crane Foundation Free gallery





          Ranchers and hunters also spoke. One rancher stated that the down-thrust of the cranes’ wings dislodged the ripe grain from the wheat stalks. Then the cranes tramped the downed wheat.

          Right now a new organization, Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition has been formed based in the Yampa region. Nancy Merrill is president. and the groups email is  The postal address is 40625 County Road 69A, Hayden, CO  81639. Barbara Hughes is vice-president. There is a plan for a festival when the cranes stage there in September and George Archibald is scheduled to speak J

          Repeatedly the most persuasive argument in opposition to the hunt was the economical impact on towns on the western slope (Monte Vista and Eckert). The importance of Eckert Cane Days was most apparent.

          But the idea of hunting remains.      

          I’m pleased that we have an organization (CCCC) to gather support.

          I will answer any email inquiries that you may have

My snail mail address is

          P. O. Box 196, Eckert, CO  81418, 

          Phone 1-970-835-8391.


Evelyn Horn










HUNT, CRAIG 6-8-12

If I’m allowed to speak at the Colorado Parks & Wildlife commission hearing in Craig, CO on June 8, my brief remarks and handout would be as given below.


I understand that the crane hunt in Moffat & Routt counties would be postponed so that the local birds would have migrated. But the nesters are more likely to be the last to migrate: They must wait for the fledgling to grow strong enough for migration. This is affirmed in Dr. Paul Johnsgard’s email reply to me on this question. (Professor emeritus, University of Nebraska).






Many of the birds that are hunted have short-term pair-bonds, usually for only one nesting season or even less as with the common Mallard. Such birds often have many offspring with the adults having a relatively short lifespan.




          Others have long-term pair-bonds such as the Bald Eagle, Canada Geese, some owls, hawks and the Swan as well as the Sandhill Crane. Although there is no emotional bond as we humans think of it, there are survival advantages to a




long-term bond: a second pair of eyes, assistance with incubation, chick rearing, food gathering, and nest protection. The Crane family functions as a unit: If one is killed the unit is destroyed. A Sandhill Crane isn’t like hunting a Mallard Duck!