Endangered Whooping Cranes

When Al and I were invited to join friends in Rockport, Texas, for the month of January, we weren’t sure what to expect.whooper

The arrangement for our month long stay at a RV Park was set up by the friends.  I’ll admit my initial thought upon pulling into this park was less than favorable, but little did I realize I was within a bicycle ride of an endangered bird.

Birder I am not, but I am a huge fan of all kinds of wildlife.  That said, I was surprised that on my morning walks or bike rides I would routinely see a bird that is regarded as a special and rare treat to behold.endangered species

Hailing from Canada, the whooping crane arrives to the Gulf of Mexico around mid-November.  The whooping crane is the tallest of the North American birds standing at 4 to 5 feet tall with a wingspan of 7 ½ feet.   During their migration south, they average 400 miles a day gliding on thermal currents.whoopers

Their plumage is white with patches of red along the top of their heads and streaks of black under their eyes.  Young whoopers have rust colored markings.whoopers

Whooping cranes are one of the best known of all endangered species.  It’s believed only 15 or 16 survived the winter of 1941-1942.  The present world population is about 475 wild and captive whoopers.  Only one self-sustaining population survives in the wild and they spend their winters in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.whooping cranes

Our RV Park is located on the other side of the St. Charles Bay from this refuge.  It appears there are several whoopers who like to visit my side of the bay, just down the road.  I know, how cool is that?whoopers

More birding tales to come and I’m working on my camera settings.  Check out this video clip on how some Wisconsin folks are helping the whooping crane population.  Very interesting.  It’s short and worth watching 🙂
http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/54042956/#54042956

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