Message to Friends of the Wild Whoopers from Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada:
“It looks like spring is coming early to Wood Buffalo National Park” advises Sharon Irwin, Resource Management Officer. Ms. Irwin explained that: “There was less snow than normal this year and most of it is already melted. Now we just have to wait for the ice to melt off the ponds.”
The first Global Positioning System (GPS) banded Whooping Crane arrived in the park on Friday April 17 advised Irwin. She also explained that: “This is a 4 year old female who was banded in in the park in 2011. Pair bonding may begin with 2- to 3-year olds and the average age for first nesting is 4 years old. This may be the beginning of parenthood for this young crane. However, this crane is likely not the first to arrive in Wood Buffalo as experienced pairs usually arrive first.”
Some of the estimated 316 Whoopers have not yet departed from Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas on their 2,500 mile migration to Wood Buffalo. And many others are scattered along the migration corridor. Yet, soon they will all be in Canada for the duration of the nesting/rearing season which will last through September
Friends of the Wild Whoopers will watch with much anticipation as the only wild population of Whooping Cranes build their nests, hatch and care for their young.