Meet the Cranes
Map of nesting grounds

Focusing on Feathers
Now on the wintering grounds, Whooping cranes spend their time looking for food and eating. When they’re not busy doing that, they sleep and preen…mostly preen. More...

  Preening feathers to keep them in top condition is a daily job for cranes.
Brooke Pennypacker, Operation Migration

On the brink of extinction, only 15 wild migratory Whooping cranes remained in the early 1940s. Since 2001, with ultralight aircraft leading the way, a new wild flock is being reintroduced to the eastern U.S. The goal is 25 breeding pairs from 125 birds by 2020. This new flock has had limited success in nesting, and the fragile migratory population has a rocky road ahead. Why is it so hard for an endangered species to recover? The new Eastern flock provides a unique chance to learn about the challenges of survival.