The numbers are in. This August, 24 whooping crane fledglings were counted in and around Wood Buffalo National Park.

Rhona Kindopp, manager of resource conservation with Parks Canada in Fort Smith, said while two dozen fledglings is a low number, “it’s still within the natural range of variation that we would expect from this species.”

Kindopp continued: “In some migratory bird species, productivity is influenced greatly by weather. This spring, in early June, we saw a significant increase in the amount of rain that we received locally.”

Kindopp stressed the weather may be just one contributing factor. “Another factor could have been local predation cycles. In other words, there may have been a greater number of predators in the area than in previous years,” she said.