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 🙂


80 thoughts on “Endangered Whooping Cranes

  1. Pingback: 51 Things to Do | Live Laugh RV

    • Yes, a rare and special treat for sure. There’s a family just down the road from me feeding in a field on most days….dad, mom, and young one….very cool.

  2. One more comment from me today (I’ve been leaving them all over your blog!) Just want to say 1. you’re doing a great job with your camera, photographing all those birds there and 2) I guess you’ve discovered why we like the whooping cranes so much in Wisconsin – being a part of this experiment to get a second migratory flock established (or “re-introduced” – that’s the correct term I guess).

    Also, I want to point you to Operation Migration’s Field Journal – if you haven’t already discovered it: everything you ever wanted to know about whoopers, and things you didn’t even know you wanted to know!

    • I appreciate ALL the comments and I will definitely be reading the field journal to learn more about the whoopers. I sure hope the flock in FL make it back to WI this summer. I’m hooked and will definitely be following. Thank you for your comments and kind compliment 🙂

  3. Hey your bird photography is getting good… we’ll all have to watch our steps Ingrid is on the prowl… beautiful… I believe the whooping crane has a special dance as well, am I right.?? I love your photos…

    • Thanks….I keep practicing and It’s called luck. You know, I don’t know about their special dance. None of the info I’ve read on them makes mention 😉

      • Most cranes have a mating dance that is spectacular to see… do they breed in the area or elsewhere… ??
        I have witnessed our Blue Crane doing his dance but never with camera in hand…. one day…one day…

        • There were a couple of birds doing a mating dance in camp last night but I think it was the gray haired crane and not the blue crane. Sorry no photos either 🙂

  4. How thrilling that is! And finding a gem in unlikely, unexpected place too. You also get 5 cool points 😀 for getting that picture with the cow. It gives proof how tall it really is. Plus, the image looks like something from a Walt Disney animated movie scene. 😀 Enviable, it truly is. Additionally, I said too much additions. 😆

    • It was fun encountering these beauties. I was surprised to see them hanging with the cows so comfortably…..you’re right, like Disney characters. Thanks 🙂

    • I’m embarrassed to say it took me a week to realize I was observing and photographing the endangered whooping crane. There’s so many unique birds around here I may just have to break down and purchase a book on birds 😉

  5. That was an interesting video wasn’t it? Caught it on the news the other day. I shared your information with a friend who was heading up to Rockport and they saw two cranes in the afternoon. Hopefully, we’ll be as lucky when we get up that way soon.

    • I have seen the whoopers in the afternoon as well but mostly in the morning. It’s fun to share our adventures. I’ll be heading into Corpus Christi this weekend to walk along the shore that your group did last Sunday. Keep sharing those gorgeous photos of your 🙂

  6. I am green with envy! I always loved seeing the sandhill cranes during our time in Yellowstone but have always longed to see a whooping crane. Great photos Ingrid! 🙂

    • A true treat indeed. I’m on a quest now for the roseate spoonbill. I did photograph one the other day but the lighting was tough and Picasa only allows me so much latitude. I’m having a great time running around with my camera but sure would enjoy a photography buddy….hint, hint 🙂

      • God would I love to be there with you! When you finally treat us to a roseate spoonbill Terry may just find the truck gone and a note on the table reading “heading out to the big state of TX”! 🙂

  7. Amazing! We have been to Goose Island at least 7 times and never seen one yet…Do keep an eye peeled for the Roseate Spoonbill too. They are a gorgeous rose pink around their wing area…Maybe you have already spotted them…They are a pretty color, but that “spoon bill” is a little on the “ugly duckling” side..I am not a real “birder” either, but I do enjoy them!

    • Yes, I’ve spotted the Roseates off Fulton Beach Road and again at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge. That face sure doesn’t go with that pretty body, does it? I’ll be sure and email you directs to spot the whoopers in case I miss your smoke signals when you get to Goose Island 😆

  8. I saw the video of the guy teaching the whooping cranes to fly. I absolutely loved the fact that they tried to have no human contact with the birds, other than hearing the engines start up every day when the birds were still in the egg.

    I think it is totally awesome that you got the shots of them!

    • Thanks…..once I realized what kind of birds I was photographing, I couldn’t wait to get more shots. It is interesting to see how they are trying to help repopulate the species 🙂

    • This is a birder’s paradise around here. I’ll be sharing more in upcoming posts. Also checking out some of the other RV Parks as I can’t recommend this one, although we would stay here again 🙂

    • Yes, you would enjoy watching these magnificent creatures. There’s a group of photographers that regularly cruise up and down the road looking for the whoopers and they have some mega lenses. I’ll be sharing a photo from one of the guys in an upcoming post, with his permission of course.

  9. There are not a lot of choices for RV pars around Port A.. We stayed on the beach and in two rv parks right on the beach and suffered a good bit of corrosions from the steady and salty winds off the gulf. They zapped our fridge circuit board, ate up the bearings, sprockets and chains on our bikes, and caused huge blooms of orange to break out on the trailers frame, propane tanks, and wheels. Inland is better.
    Box Canyon Mark

    • My dad warned us about the salt spray and corrosion so I don’t feel too badly not being so exposed. We’re nestled amongst oak trees and several blocks away from the Gulf north of Rockport. That’s some scary tales Mark and makes the desert look all the more desirable.

    • Thanks….you and the Mr. should swing through sometime. I’m not sure you’ll enjoy it as much as AL but you’ll enjoy. So many different birds 🙂

  10. I’m not a birder either but I do enjoy watching the larger birds. The whopping crane is huge. Great photo of them in flight. Enjoy your month stay…relax and kick back:)

    • It was over a week before I knew what these birds were and what a special and rare treat it truly is to witness. Definitely relaxing and living on RV time 🙂

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