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Two whooping cranes have arrived at refuge

By BY DIANNA WRAY
Oct. 22, 2010 at 5:22 a.m.


Another whooping crane has been spotted at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

Two whooping cranes were seen in the marshes on the east shore of the refuge on Thursday, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services whooping crane coordinator Tom Stehn said.

The first two cranes were observed by Felipe Chavez-Ramirez and Walter Wehtje from The Crane Trust while they were collecting data, Stehn said.

Initial reports stated that one whooping crane had been spotted, but Stehn later updated his report to state that a pair of cranes was spotted.

This flock of whooping cranes has migrated between Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge for generations.

They are the only naturally migrating whooping crane flock left in existence.

The birds travel solo, in couples or in small groups, Stehn said. They'll continue arriving well into December, and will spend the winter here before returning to Canada in the spring.

They usually begin arriving around Oct. 16, but unseasonably warm weather may have delayed their travels, Stehn said.

However, now that the first set of birds has arrived, Stehn said, a number of the flock should follow in the next few weeks once the first cold front arrives.

"The first good cold snap should get them moving," Stehn said.

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