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Were They Whoopers?
You Be the Judge

In early April, Journey North's crane expert, Tom Stehn, got a note from someone who thought she might have seen whoopers flying over Texas. Did she? You be the scientist!

Read the observer's description
  • Click for a description of what the observer saw.
  • As you read, underline clues that can help you decide if this was or was not a batch of whoopers.
  • What questions would you like to ask the observer?
Who's who? Compare whoopers and a mystery species!

What other birds can look like whooping cranes at a distance? Tom Stehn has an opinion about that. But first, here's your challenge:

  1. Look closely at large photos of a) cranes and b) this mystery species.
  2. Think about how you would tell them apart.
  3. Use this Observation Chart to record what you see.
a) Whoopers in flight
Click for larger photos. >>

b) Mystery species in flight
Click for larger photos. >>

What would you say to the observer?
  1. Review the observers' report and your chart (including the facts at the bottom).
  2. Write a paragraph explaining these things:
    a)
    whether you think the observer actually saw whooping cranes,
    b)
    what you think she actually saw flying in Texas that day (you may need to do some research),
    c)
    how to tell the difference between those species in the future!

Dig Deeper

Photos: Upper left: Operation Migration, Upper right: USFWS, Top and lower left: Laura Erickson, Lower right: Dwight Sokoll

 

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