Whooping Crane Migration Update: December 4, 1997
An aerial census of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas made 1December 4th revealed the presence of a record total of 178 whooping cranes: 100 adults, 49 subadults and 29 young. The flight was made in charter aircraft with Tom Stehn as observer. Clear weather allowed for a complete census effort.
Based on summer nesting and winter territory data, this winter's whooping crane population is expected to reach an all-time high of 180. Previous highs were 160 total cranes last winter, and 28 chicks back in 1995.
This table shows the Whooping Crane comeback since their dangerously low numbers in the 1940's:
Tom Stehn has watched same comeback repeat itself this fall as the whoopers returned from their nesting grounds--but in only 5 weeks rather than 57 years. Here's a fall migration summary, with links to his flight reports:
December 4, 1997: Flight Report