Whooping crane season comes to a close
By by Dianna Wray
April 20, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated April 19, 2011 at 11:20 p.m.
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Whooping cranes mate for life.
The trip between Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and Wood Buffalo National Park is 1,200 miles.
Once a whooping crane has made the trip, they are able to return unguided.
With only 10 whoopers left in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, whooping crane season is almost over, officials said.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services whooping crane coordinator Tom Stehn and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services biologist Brad Strobel conducted the eighth survey of the season last week. Only 10 birds were sighted, according to a release issued by Stehn. Stehn reported 279 birds in the flock this year, the largest number recorded since the birds became endangered in the 1940s.
This flock is made up of descendants of the 15 birds found wintering in the refuge in 1941. The flock migrates between the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada. They have done so since the Ice Age. They are the last naturally migrating flock of whooping cranes in existence. There is a Whooping Crane population in Florida, but it is non-migratory.