Whoopers forgo trip north, summer on Aransas
Three juvenile whooping cranes skipped their migration to Canada this year, instead spending their summer on the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. A fourth bird is believed to have stayed on San Jose Island.
While the only wild flock of endangered whooping cranes typically nests at Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada and winters on the Texas Coast, this is not the first time birds have played hooky from the 2,500 mile trip, said Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator Wade Harrell.
“There’s been instances since the ’50s, even, when we’ve had an occasional bird stay the summer,” he said. “It’s hard to say exactly why they stay.”
The three that are on the refuge are believed to be younger birds that have not yet reached the age to breed. That may be part of the reason they decided to forgo the long journey north, where adult pairs have babies.
In the past, birds have stayed because they were recovering from some sort of injury. But there’s no indication that the three have any kind of injury, Harrell said.
To read Sara Sneath’s entire article, click here.
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