Spring Migration Underway
A few of the birds in the world’s only remaining wild population of Whooping Cranes have begun their annual spring migration back to their nesting grounds at Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada. The others will soon follow. They are repeating an event that has been going on for thousands of years. Following good conditions during the winter season on their Aransas National Wildlife Refuge winter grounds, the Whoopers appear to be in healthy condition. So, as the remaining Whoopers join the early birds and depart on their 2,500 mile migration to their nesting grounds there is hope for a successful reproduction and nesting season.
Traveling in small groups the Whoopers are expected to begin arriving at their nesting grounds during late April and May.
Report your observations
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is asking the public to report any Whooping Cranes they see along rivers, wetlands and fields. Report your observations to the wildlife agency in your state.
If you should observe a whooping crane as they migrate along the Central Flyway, please report them to the proper agencies. We have compiled a list of agencies and contact information below.
Any sightings of Whooping Cranes in Canada:
Whooping Crane Hotline is 306-975-5595. That will get you to Wildlife Biologist John Conkin. Leave a detailed message for a callback.
MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks
1420 East Sixth Avenue
Helena, MT 59620
MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks
2300 Lake Elmo Drive
Billings, MT 59105
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices at Lostwood, (701-848-2466)
National wildlife refuges
North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, (701-328-6300) or to local game wardens
Eileen Dowd Stukel: Eileen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Casey Heimerl: Casey.email@example.com
Natalie Gates: Natalie_Gates@fws.gov
Jessica Dowler: Jessica_Dowler@fws.gov
Nebraska Game and Parks (402-471-0641)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (308-379-5562)
The Crane Trust’s Whooper Watch hotline (888-399-2824)
Emails may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
Whooping Crane sightings at or near Quivira NWR should be reported to:
Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
They can also be reported to this email: email@example.com
Sightings can be logged online here
Endangered Species Biologist
Wildlife Diversity Biologist
Texas Whooper Watch also has a project in I-Naturalist that is now fully functional. You can find it here. You can report sightings directly in I-Naturalist via your Smart Phone. This allows you to easily provide photo verification and your location.
If you are not a smart phone app user, you can still report via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: (512-389-999). Please note that our primary interest is in reports from outside the core wintering range.
Do not disturb and why reporting is important
Should you see a whooping crane during migration, please do not get close or disturb it. Keep your distance and make a note of date, time, location, and what the whooping crane is doing. If the whooping crane is wearing bands or a transmitter, please note the color(s) and what leg(s) the bands are on.
You may wonder why the wild life agencies are asking for these sightings to be reported. The reports are very helpful in gathering data and information on when and where the whooping cranes stopover, what type of habitat they are choosing, and how many there are.
With just over 500 wild whooping cranes migrating along the Central Flyway, odds are low of seeing a wild whooping crane. However, FOTWW hopes that someone reading this article will be one of the lucky few. If you are, please report your sighting so that these agencies and other conservation groups, including FOTWW can continue helping these magnificent cranes.
***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.