Hunters and birders check new “Whooper Identification” page
Some Whooping Cranes are still on Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada while others are migrating south and a few have made it all the way to Aransas Refuge, Texas. They have reared their young on Wood Buffalo but now the weather there is getting frigid and the call of the wild is growing louder. The Whoopers hear the wild call and all of them will have soon departed on their 2,500 mile migration south.
The whoopers will find the wild portion of Texas coast in better condition when they arrive than it has been during the past two years. The habitat on Aransas National Wildlife Refuge has improved due to some recent good weather and work by refuge personnel. Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Coordinator advises that the refuge received more than 10 inches of rain since September and is wetter than it has been in several years. Refuge vegetation and water levels in fresh water ponds has improved due to the rains. Importantly the refuge staff has been carrying out wildlife management practices to improve habitat for the flock’s arrival.
During their 2,500 mile migration south the whooping cranes will face many difficulties. Stormy weather and obstacles such as power lines, communication towers and a growing number of windmills can cripple or kill whooping cranes if they fly into them. And, unfortunately, hunters sometimes mistake Whooping Cranes for Sandhill Cranes and shoot them. Thankfully, hunter related causes of Whooping Crane deaths have declined in recent years, but it is still a problem.
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is attempting to encourage improvements in identification of Whooping Cranes by hunters, birders and the general public. We have developed an improved “Whooping Crane Identification” section on our web page https://friendsofthewildwhoopers.org/whooper-identification/ Hopefully this new tool will be useful to many. Check it out and pass the word along to others. Endangered Whooping Cranes lives will be saved if you and others become better at identifying Whooping Cranes.
***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****