Wood Buffalo National Park-Birthplace of Whooping Cranes

Wood Buffalo National Park – Birthplace of Whooping Cranes

 

Wood Buffalo National Park - Birthplace of Whooping Cranes.Whooping Crane Chick.
Photo by Tom Lynn © Tom Lynn

In the Canadian north, where Alberta meets The Northwest Territories, lies Wood Buffalo National Park, where endangered Whooping Cranes dance, nest, and raise their young. “I like to describe Wood Buffalo National Park as a place of superlatives,” says park superintendent Rob Kent. “Visitors can see pristine ecosystems, 5,000 bison, 150-pound wolves, and the largest freshwater delta in North America.” When summer ends and the juvenile cranes are able to fly, they migrate 2,700 miles to their wintering grounds on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

 

Click on the PODCAST and follow the Transcript to get a better perspective.  Brought to you courtesy of BirdNote!

 

 

Transcript:
BirdNote®

Wood Buffalo National Park – Birthplace of Whooping Cranes

Written by Chris Peterson with special thanks to Rob Kent, WBNP Superintendent

This is BirdNote!

[Calls of Whooping Cranes]

In the Canadian north, where Alberta meets The Northwest Territories, lies the huge Wood Buffalo National Park. Here the Peace and Athabasca Rivers run through fescue grasslands, boreal forests, and wetlands of international significance. Here one of the world’s most endangered birds, the Whooping Crane, comes to dance, nest, and raise its young.

[Calls of Whooping Cranes]

“I like to describe Wood Buffalo National Park as a place of superlatives,” says park superintendent Rob Kent. “Visitors can see pristine ecosystems, 5,000 bison, 150-pound wolves, the largest freshwater delta in North America, and fire and ice that shape things on a grand scale. [Jump in a Cessna 210, and it’ll take you almost two hours to fly across.]”

[wolf howl followed by wetland]

The world’s last completely wild flock of Whooping Cranes – about 275 – returns in spring to a vast mosaic of marshes and shallow ponds. In summer, with 20 hours of daylight, you can almost hear the explosive growth of plants and insects. [Insects] The insects become food for the dragonfly larvae that become food for the birds. [With their necks outstretched, the birds can stand five feet tall.]

When summer ends and the juveniles are able to fly, the cranes fly 2,700 miles to winter on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

[Calls of Whooping Cranes]

[The immense dark skies of the park now dance with northern lights.]

See videos and learn more at birdnote.org.

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Calls of Whooping Cranes [2748 and 2749] recorded by George Archibald; honey bee and other insects [60446] recorded by V.J. Ketner.

Nature SFX sounds recorded by Gordon Hempton of Quietplanet.com. #18 stream flowing, #63 coniferous forest with insects, ravens and other birds; wetland pond with morning birdsong #97

BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org    April 2014   Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#     WHCR-woodbuffalo-01-2014-04-17 WHCR-woodbuffalo-01

Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada

 

***** FOTWW’s mission is to protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population
of wild whooping cranes and their habitat
. *****

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Whooping Crane Visits Regina, SK

Juvenile Whooping Crane Visits Regina, SK

Kim Mann from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada shared some interesting whooping crane information and photos with Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW). Now we will share Kim’s information with you. Kim wrote the following:

“On Sat May 3 2014, my sister and I were checking the grids south of Regina and Val spotted another Whooping Crane. The crane was standing in a field just beyond a slough full of Tundra Swans. He/she stayed for the day flipping over large clumps of vegetation, no doubt after any frogs hiding beneath. Unfortunately, the heat haze and strong winds made picture taking extremely difficult.  There is a good chance that later that day we spotted another 4 further south from the first individual but neither Val nor I could positively id those ones. They were just too far away and the heat haze too strong.” Kim and her sister referred to the juvenile whooper as “Junior”

juvenile whooping crane_1000x643

“Junior” enjoying Regina, SK. ~Photo above courtesy of Kim Mann


Kim sent FOTWW a video of her observations and explained:
“ Glad to hear that the video CD arrived.  This was only the second time I have used my camera to take a video.  We are actually very far from “Junior” and the pics/videos are taken with a 400mm telephoto. We have seen Junior tossing huge sods of grass on a couple of occasions.  We think he is trying to find tasty creatures under the sod, perhaps insects, frogs, snakes or rodents.

“Regina, near where the video/photos were taken is the capital of Saskatchewan and is about 150 miles north of the North Dakota border.  The ecoregion is moist mixed grassland prairie.  Junior has been located just south of Regina in farm fields, usually in or fairly close to a slough, sometimes with swans and other times alone.  Currently the fields are still fairly wet from the snow melt so the sloughs are fairly large.  Attached is a pic of Junior by a slough and you can see another in the background.  These sloughs are just up the road a tad from the slough that Junior was in snoozing with the swans. “

“Whooping cranes tend to fly over Regina and the surrounding area during migration and on occasion, land in rural farmer’s fields; however, it is not common for them to be seen on the ground in this particular area.  A friend that has worked with wildlife suggested that the unusually cold temperatures may be causing them to land more frequently.  Also the day in April that we saw the four whoopers had a storm front complete with strong winds moving in.  For whatever reason it has been an amazing spring for whooping crane sightings – we have seen (but not confirmed- heat haze made it impossible to be sure) at least nine different whoopers on separate occasions!”

Just a note: The whooping crane is the large bird in the background. The birds in the water are swans and ducks.

Juvenile Whooping Crane near Regina, SK. Video Courtesy of Kim Mann of SK.

FOTWW is very appreciative of Kim Mann for sharing her report. We love to get first-hand information from citizens who, like us, just love whooping cranes. So if any more of you Canadians and United States folks have whooping crane observations, please send them to us.

***** FOTWW’s mission is to protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population
of wild whooping cranes and their habitat
. *****

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Whooping Cranes near Regina, SK Canada

Whooping Cranes near Regina.

On April 21st, Friends of the Wild Whoopers posted a couple photos of a few whooping cranes spotted near Regina, SK, Canada. If you missed that update, you can click on this link Whooping Cranes Migrating Back to Canadian Nesting Grounds to view the photos.

FOTWW has been given permission to share this video of a few whooping cranes near Regina, SK, recorded on April 20, 2014. A very special thank you to Sask Birder for allowing FOTWW to share these rare glimpses of the wild whoopers with everyone.

 ***** FOTWW’s mission is to protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population
of wild whooping cranes and their habitat
. *****

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Whooping Cranes Migrating Back to Canadian Nesting Grounds

by  Friends of the Wild Whoopers

Whooping cranes are now well underway on their long 2,500 mile migration back to their nesting grounds. While some of the birds are still at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas coast, many are working their way northward to Canada. The birds are departing Aransas Refuge in good condition due to improved habitat conditions there. Soon they will reach Wood Buffalo National Park Canada where they will build their nest and raise their young.

“Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW) received a report yesterday that four whooping cranes were spotted just outside of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Regina is the capital city of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and is a stopover spot for the AransasWood Buffalo  whooping cranes before reaching Wood Buffalo National Park.

Today, FOTWW received another reported sighting from Regina along with two photographs taken this afternoon. The report read “From what we could see there were three adults and one juvenile feeding at quite a distance from the road. Due to the foreshortening of the telephoto lens, the birds appear closer to the city limits than they actually were.  The field is a few miles past the city limits.

Reports out of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and other places along the Central Flyway have been advising for the past couple of weeks that the wild whoopers have started their migration toward their nesting grounds in Wood Buffalo. Kevin Sims was out on the water yesterday and stated to FOTWW that “We managed to find eight  whoopers today. They were all very far out in the marsh. I was happy to see them it won’t be long now before they are all gone. Back to Wood Buffalo.”

During the past two weeks FOTWW has received a number of reports of whooping crane sightings near Platte River, Nebraska; Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira Refuge, Kansas; and Aulne, Kansas.

The two photos below are proof that they are almost home.

Whooping Cranes migrating back to Canadian Nesting Grounds. Regina, SK

Photo by Saskbird member.

 

Whooping Cranes migrating back to Canadian Nesting Grounds. Regina, SK

Photo by a Saskbird member.

FOTWW wishes to thank the Saskbird member for sending us the report and photos, and for Kevin who has kept everyone up to date this winter with his reports and photographs. Hopefully, we’ll have more reports and photographs, of the wild ones throughout the summer.

 

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