The 18th Annual Whooping Crane Festival was held in Port Aransas, TX the last 4 days. Carol and I were privileged to hear the top crane experts in the world lecture about these magnificent creatures while attending the festival.
The Whooping Crane is the rarest and tallest of all North American birds. It is 5 feet tall and has a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet. The Whooping Crane has been slowly recovering from near extinction of only 15 birds in 1941 to about 270 migratory individuals today. The last naturally occurring population of Whooping Cranes in the world breeds at Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada and migrates more than 2,500 miles to spend the winter on the coastal wetlands near and within Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Rockport, Texas. They arrive in Texas in the fall and leave in March. The migration takes about 2 to 3 weeks. This population of “Whoopers” is called the Aransas-Wood Buffalo flock. The International Crane Foundation headed by Dr. George Archibald is the leading organization in working for the protection and restoration of the 15 crane species found worldwide. Dr. Archibald was one of the speakers we heard.
Whooping Crane facts: Mate for life; Only one of two species of cranes found on the North American Continent, the Sandhill Crane being the other; Average life span in the wild is 30 years; They never fly at night; The migration route from Buffalo NP to Aransas NWR is approximate 150 miles wide.
In recognition of the Whooping Crane, I though it fitting to share a couple of my Whooping Crane photos.
Maybe this post will inspire you to learn more about the “Whooper” and its plight.
Click on the photo to enlarge