Whooper flock total remains 263

  • CRANE COUNT Whooping cranes began arriving at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in October. A total of 247 birds left their wintering grounds the previous year, after the deadliest winter on record for the endangered animals. Here is a breakdown of the total flock count since October: Oct. 16: 4 Oct. 19: 5 Nov. 11: 26 Nov. 12: 91 Nov. 26: 99 Dec. 5: 208 Dec. 12: 230 Dec. 17: 244 Jan. 8: 264 Feb. 26: 263 March 3: 263
    CRANE COUNT -2010-03-03 22:36:00

AUSTWELL - The total flock estimate of endangered whooping cranes remains 263, despite Aransas National Wildlife Refuge biologists only tallying 256 Tuesday in their flight report.

No cranes are presumed dead, according to the report. A family was overlooked during the flight, but GPS trackers found the family had been on the Lamar Peninsula in Aransas County before and after the flight.

Twenty family groups were tallied in the flight report. The flock estimate includes 242 adults and 21 juveniles after a juvenile died earlier this winter.

The flight report noted that food availability is improving. More cranes are eating blue crabs as bay salinity levels have improved.