Two whooping cranes have been spotted at Cheyenne Bottoms. Fifteen were spotted at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Curtis Wolf, site manager for the Kansas Wetlands Education Center said that he got a call from a woman from Kansas City willing to drive hundreds of miles to check seeing an endangered whooping crane off her bucket list.
Any day now, whooping cranes are expected to pass through the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
Last year, the first whooping crane arrived on March 6.
In 2012 and 2011, the whoopers arrived on March 16.
“Statistically, their peak movement is the last week of March and the first two weeks of April,” said Barry Jones, visitor services specialist at the refuge, in Stafford County.
The arrival of the whoopers generally signals the spring migration. But there are signs that spring has arrived.
Already, flocks of sandhill cranes have been passing through the refuge on their way to the staging grounds on Nebraska’s Platte River. Other birds – four tundra swans were spotted in Quivira along with a handful of pelicans, 200 Baird’s sandpipers and thousands of ducks – are resting in the water-filled marshes.