Endangered whoopers continue to arrive, expected to break records

Nov. 16, 2011 at 5:16 a.m.

Whooping cranes have begun their return to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

So far, 26 birds have returned.

There were 278 birds in the flock when the birds left their winter grounds in the spring. After 37 chicks were hatched in Canada, biologists expect the flock's numbers to swell to more than 300 this year.

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

The birds' return was first sighted in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge at the end of October.

Currently, 12 of the 21 active radio-tagged birds have arrived on the Texas coast. The remaining cranes are scattered between North Dakota and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.



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