WHOOPING CRANE REPORTS AND UPDATES FOUND HERE – FIND THE LATEST INFO ON THIS YEAR’S NUMBERS AND OBSTACLES THEY FACE DURING THEIR MIGRATIONS ROUTES.
FUN FACT: The Whooping Crane is the tallest flying bird in North America.
Take a Whooping Crane Photography Tour with Aransas Bay Adventures to see the Endangered Whooping Crane! Learn More About the Boat Tour Now!
CLICK TO READ THE PDF BELOW FOR THE CURRENT WHOOPING CRANE REPORT. THESE REPORTS ARE UPDATED BI-ANNUALLY UPON THEIR ARRIVAL AND THEIR DEPARTURE AT THE ARANSAS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.
Late Whooping Crane Migration Expected in Texas
October 20, 2016 Texas Parks and Wildlife
AUSTIN — The iconic, endangered whooping crane has embarked on its annual fall migration and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is reminding Texans to expect these impressive birds to be moving through the state in the weeks ahead as they travel to wintering grounds along the Texas coast.
Standing at nearly five feet tall, whooping cranes are North America’s tallest bird and each year the flock follows a migratory path from nesting grounds in Woods Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada, to primary wintering range on and around the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Austwell, Texas. This trek takes the birds through North and Central Texas and traverses cities such as Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, Dallas, Waco, Austin and Victoria.
During their migration, whoopers often pause overnight in wetlands for roosting and agricultural fields for feeding, though it is rare for them to remain in the same place for more than one night. As a federally-protected species, it is illegal to harass or disturb whooping cranes and TPWD encourages the public to be mindful of these brief layovers and to use caution around these birds in order to decrease disturbance to the areas surrounding them.
“It appears it will be another late migration, so we are estimating the peak of migration in Texas likely won’t be until early to mid-November,” stated Wade Harrell, United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s whooping crane recovery coordinator. Click the USFW logo to read their whooping crane report below.
The late migration could mean that whooping cranes will be showing up in Texas as waterfowl and sandhill crane hunting seasons get under way across the state. It is vitally important for sportsmen to review the crane and waterfowl identification guide in the Texas Waterfowl Digest and familiarize themselves with the identifying characteristics between both hunted and protected migratory bird species.
BE SURE BEFORE YOU SHOOT – DISTINGUISHING GEESE AND SANDHILL CRANES FROM THE ENDANGERED WHOOPING CRANES – VIDEO BELOW: Provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife
Several birds may appear similar to whooping cranes, but if you look closely you can tell the difference. The sandhill crane, the whooping crane’s closest relative, is gray in color, not white. Also, sandhill cranes are somewhat smaller, with a wingspan of about five feet. Sandhill cranes occur in flocks of two to hundreds, whereas whooping cranes are most often seen in flocks of two to as many as 10 to 15, although they sometimes migrate with sandhill cranes.
Last year, the whooping crane population was a record 329 birds, compared to the all-time low of just 17 birds that existed in 1941.
The public can help track whooping cranes by reporting sightings to TPWD’s Whooper Watch, a citizen-science based reporting system to track whooping crane migration and wintering locations throughout Texas. More information about Whooper Watch, including instructions for reporting sightings, can be found online – click the banner ad for iNaturalist below. These observations help biologists identify new migration and wintering locations and their associated habitats.
PORT ARANSAS WHOOPING CRANE FESTIVAL CELEBRATES THE ENDANGERED WHOOPING CRANES – LINK PROVIDED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE PORT ARANSAS CHAMBER (TEXAS GULF COAST). This festival is held every year – February in Port Aransas, TX. All ages welcome…. educational, informative and fun! Contact the Port Aransas Chamber for more info!!
The International Crane Foundation works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways on which they depend.
Learn all about Whooping Crane – Species Field Guide: https://www.savingcranes.org/species-field-guide/whooping-crane/
Our Mission: The International Crane Foundation works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways on which they depend. We provide knowledge, leadership, and inspiration to engage people in resolving threats to cranes and their diverse landscapes.
Our Reach: From our nearly 300-acre headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA our reach extends across the globe. We maintain a regional base in China and share program offices with partner organizations in Cambodia, India, South Africa, Texas, Vietnam, and Zambia. Our approximately 55 staff work with a network of hundreds of specialists in over 50 countries on five continents.
Our Vision: The International Crane Foundation is committed to a future where all 15 of the world’s crane species are secure. Through the charisma of cranes, we envision a future where people work together to protect and restore wild crane populations and the landscapes they depend on – and by doing so, find new pathways to sustain our water, land, and livelihoods.
If you spot a Whooping Crane, first visit Is it a Whooping Crane? to double-check your identification. Please note as much of the following information as possible:
Time (beginning and ending)
Number of whooping cranes – adult and juvenile
Are any bands present on the legs?
Behavior (feeding, flying, resting, etc.), including any food items observed
Distance you were from the bird(s)
Any binoculars or scopes used
Any other bird species present
Any hazards present
If you still believe it is a Whooping Crane, then submit your observations and any photos to Texas Whooper Watch in one of the following ways: Download Whooping Crane Sighting Form