Whooping for Whooping Crane conservation!
The third Friday of every May marks Endangered Species Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the robust conservation efforts made to help protect endangered and threatened species. One of those endangered species is the Whooping Crane, which is the rarest of all cranes and among the oldest living bird species on the earth.
Every winter, Whooping Cranes make the long journey from northwestern Canada and central Wisconsin to winter along the Gulf Coast of Texas and a few other southeastern parts of the United States. Standing five feet tall and boasting a wingspan of over seven feet, they are quite a majestic sight. Unfortunately, the species neared extinction in the 20th century–in 1942, there were less than 25 Whooping Cranes in the world. Today, thanks to international conservation efforts, over 800 of these beautiful birds, named after their distinct “whooping” sound, are returning to their favorite warm vacation spots every winter.
Port Aransas is one of those favorite winter spots for one particular family of Whoopers. After an interesting courtship dance and a distinct duet, Whooping Cranes settle down with their partner and mate for life. During the winter months, the Port Aransas family of Whoopers can be seen in the marshlands of the Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture or at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center snatching up blue crabs or other crustaceans and small fish.
To learn more about Whooping Cranes and conservation efforts for this endangered species, head over to the Whooping Crane Festival website. This annual event, which benefits the International Crane Foundation working worldwide to conserve cranes, will return in 2022.
Read About Our Whoopers in the News
Photo credit: Steve Zilliox