Whooping cranes set new record - This winter, the marshes along the Texas coast are more alive with snowy white Whooping cranes than they've been in a century.
Tom Stehn, USF&WS Whooping Crane Coordinator at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge told us he has revised his estimate of the size of the Aransas/Wood Buffalo Whooping Crane population to 237. He said that 132 adults, 60 sub-adults, and 45 chicks had completed the 2,400-mile seasonal trek from Canada and were currently present on the refuge.
Stehn said, "The total of 237 (up from 220 last winter) comes from the 224 Whooping cranes actually counted on our Nov. 22nd flight and then adding the 13 cranes known to have still been on migration on that date."
This year marks the first time since the early 1900s that the total North American population, including captive birds, broke 500. Tom said he puts the total population at 515 and is sure he is accurate within a few birds. "It's more than we ever had," Stehn said. "They had a really good production year in Canada."
Stehn said a record 62 mating pairs produced 49 chicks able to leave their nests in Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park. Of those, 45 chicks completed the migration to Texas, the largest number of chicks to make it down to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge since the counts began in 1938.
Tom's next aerial survey is expected to be in mid-January.
Hey guys, someone called in on the outdoor radio show in Houston this morning and stated he had seen someone calling themselves cast and blast guide service. He stated these guys have been offering the killing of whooping cranes for a 10k fee to out of country people interested in mounting one of these birds. He stated he had seen information and photos of dead birds on the internet. Have any of you heard this news or was this a terrible prank. I happen to have a house just miles from where I can veiw these birds and I would be more than willing to do whatever is necessary to help catch anyone who has such a disrespect for these animals. The caller went on to state there were game wardens everywhere attempting to catch these guys. Please respond if you have heard any of this before.
I haven't heard anything about this and I certainly hope it isn't true. However, one of the Florida flock flew into a powerline while on migration. There have been pictures of it on the web. They took it to a zoo, but they could not save it.