Which Are the Whoopers?
Try Identifying Cranes from an Airplane

How many whoopers? Counting whooping cranes is not easy! "I sometimes think that every white pelican and great and snowy egret for miles around flies to Aransas every week just to get counted," says Tom Stehn. "Throw in the occasional piece of white styrofoam trash washed up into the marsh along with white refuge boundary signs, and our eyes have much to sort through to find all the whooping cranes."

Climb into Tom's airplane and see for yourself! Click on the photo for an example of what Tom sees from the plane. On aerial surveys, Tom sees many white bird "conventions." He says the white birds seem to gather at sites of food concentrations, often where water levels recede or where minnows are trapped in drying ponds.

  • How many whoopers can you find in Tom's aerial photo?
  • Observe and try to count them, then see Tom's answer.