The Patuxent Research Refuge is home to the USGS’s (United States Geological Survey’s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. One of the on-going projects conducted by the USGS there is the Whooping Crane Captive Breeding Program.
This actual area where the program is being conducted is not open to the general public. However, the Whooping Crane Observatory is open to visitors by permission and only on special occasions. The cranes involved with the breeding program are kept away from human contact, even from the many of the staff because they are very sensitive to human disturbance. It is my understanding that the two cranes on display and pictured here have been habituated to humans.
Since I only had my macro lens with me, I could not get a clear shot of the cranes. A good telephoto lens would have made the job easier. Maybe another time.
Reference: Wildlife Festival marks opening of crane observatory at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (Click on link for full article that appeared in the Baltimore Sun.)