Crane Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
census flight was cancelled by weather yesterday and rescheduled
for April 21. But here's some news: We don't
have a lot of whooping cranes here. After two days of unfavorable
winds, the winds turned around to the east with
clear skies. At 11:40 AM this morning, visitors
reported and staff confirmed 2 whooping cranes in flight
Visitor Center, gaining height and heading NW. Only
2 were seen on the Aransas boat tour April 15. Our staff
also saw 2 on Matagorda Island. We had ideal conditions
map) for migration April 15-16. I expect some
of the cranes still
at Aransas left then, with mainly just non-breeding
subadults remaining behind after this week. I'm totally guessing,
but I'd say maybe between 20 and 40 are still here at most.
really have to fly over the refuge to get a total, and I
hope that will happen April 21.
Last week I said the migration seems on the early side
this year. If actually
so, I wonder if that is related to the bad food winter
at Aransas. What do YOU think?
National Wildlife Refuge
The whoopers are back in Canada! On
Saturday April 11 a single whooping
crane was observed
flying in a flock of sandhill cranes in southern Saskatchewan.
This crane may have been the juvenile that was seen earlier
on Nebraska's Platte River with sandhill cranes. (The sandhills
migrate from their wintering grounds earlier than the whooping
and spend some time on the Platte River in Nebraska before
continuing migration to their breeding grounds in Northern
Canada, Alaska and Siberia.) Single whooping cranes are
usually 1-year-olds that are now on their own until they meet
up with other whoopers.
April 14 was a good day for migrating north — sunny and
warm with winds from the south. Some of the breeding
birds should be here any day now. There were no new sightings
as of noon on April 15, but I expect sightings to start coming
in by the time you read this
of the snow has melted from central Saskatchewan and a
lot of small
available for the cranes to stop in overnight. The daytime
temperatures on the breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo
National Park will be around 8C this week, and the snow will
soon be gone. We are ready for the whooping cranes!
Saskatoon, SK and
Buffalo National Park