North America’s tallest bird, and one of its most endangered -- the Whooping Crane! There are fewer than 600 in the world even when you count the ones in captivity. They’ve rebounded from an all-time low of 15. The only wild migratory flock – about 275 – winters along the Texas Gulf Coast in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Check them out at the annual Whooping Crane Festival February 19-22, 2015!
A Chance to See Whooping Cranes - At Port Aransas
Written by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Boat motor idling]
All aboard! Today, we’re off to see North America’s tallest bird, and one of its most endangered. Whooping Cranes! [Calls of Whooping Cranes] There are fewer than 600 in the world even when you count the ones in captivity. They’ve rebounded from an all-time low of 15. The only wild migratory flock – about 275 – winters along the Texas Gulf Coast in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Looks like our boat – the Wharf Cat – is ready to load!
“Good morning. How y’all today? Watch your step as you go through here…”
That’s Ray Kirkwood, a Texas Master Naturalist. [boat gets underway] On our way to the refuge, we’ll see lots of Bottlenose Dolphins and Laughing Gulls [calls of Laughing Gulls].
There’s our first pair of cranes! [engine cuts]
Ray:“Let’s take a look at ‘em. The Whooping Crane has long black legs on him. He’s got an all-white body and then a long smoothly curved all-white neck. Basically a white head – but it’s pretty well decorated…got a bright red skull-cap…a little triangle of black feathers... Out in front he’s got great big, long straight, heavy-duty bill….”
All Whooping Cranes in the world today are descended from this one wild population. You can follow birds from this flock to their spectacular nesting grounds in northern Canada, and learn who’s helping cranes, at our website, birdnote.org.
[Calls of Whooping Cranes]
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Calls of Laughing Gulls  recorded by G.F. Budney; calls of Whooping Cranes  recorded by George Archibald.
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: Mary McCann Marantz VI Tracks 98-99
ID# WHCR-portaransas-01-2014-04-15 WHCR-portaransas-01
Links to International Crane Foundation www.savingcranes.org
Wood Buffalo National Park www.parkscanada.gc/woodbuffalo email@example.com
Whooping Crane Festival www.whoopingcranefestival.org
Texas Master Naturalist program http://midcoast-tmn.org/
Visit the Whooping Crane Festival with BirdNote founder, Chris Peterson