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Whooping Crane

International Migratory Bird Day--A Perspective

Migration Route
Map by Claudia Fonkert
Macalester College

Saturday May 9, is International Migratory Bird Day. The story of the whooping crane provides a vivid example of international cooperation between countries to preserve an endangered migratory species.

Each spring, Canadian Biologist Brian Johns waits for the return of the endangered whooping cranes. The world's entire wild flock travels across international borders on their 2,500 mile journey from their winter home in the United States to their breeding grounds in Canada.

Here is a perspective from Brian which reflects the international
partnership between Canada and the United States, in the shared hope that the cranes' migration will continue across borders and between generations:

To: Journey North
From: Brian Johns

Dear Students,

As a Canadian biologist who works with migratory birds, I'd like to share some important information with you this week. May 9 is International Migratory Bird Day and as you track the progress of whooping crane migration you will see that there is more than one country involved.

In my everyday activities as an endangered species biologist I have come to realize that the story of the whooping crane is a great example of international cooperation in wildlife management. The whooping crane has also become known as the symbol of international efforts to preserve rare and endangered species.

No single individual or group alone can prevent species from becoming endangered. It takes a cooperative role by many different people and organizations.

The whooping crane recovery program is an international effort involving agencies from both Canada and the United States. During the tracking of migration we rely on many different sources to report the sightings. Some of the people involved are biologists and conservation officers from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada, the governments of several states, provinces and territories, as well as numerous private individuals and naturalist organizations.

All of these groups working together across many different borders are able to keep track of where the whooping cranes are and how they are doing. Without this cooperation the whooping crane might have gone extinct many years ago.

If you check this page next week I will have some information from the nesting grounds.


Brian Johns
Canadian Wildlife Service
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The FINAL Whooping Crane Migration Update Will be Posted on May 14, 1998.

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