These two Whoopers were spotted from the side of Hwy 35 in Aransas Co., where they were visiting a corn feeder set out for deer. This is something that is becoming more common to see whereas 10+ years ago these birds rarely, if ever, left the coastal marshes. The population increase in the species may be causing some of the birds to investigate new foraging opportunities.
with Sandhill Cranes
Aransas Co., Texas
25 Feb 2014
This family group (two adults, one juvenile) of Whoopers was discovered by Chuck Sexton Feb. 18, 2014 at Granger Lake, Williamson Co., Texas, about 25 miles north of Austin. I went out there with Chuck this morning to try to get some images since one of the adults was color banded and we wanted to be able to provide USFWS with the band information for possible individual recognition. We could get no closer than perhaps 1/3 of a mile from the birds but with 1000 mm of telephoto I got some useable images. A few years ago several Whoopers, perhaps some of these same birds, spend much of the winter at this same location.
Yeah, Whooping Cranes in the front yard, no big deal...
WHCR Whooping Crane, Grus americana (Linnaeus, 1758). Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Aransas Co., Texas, USA (TX-13-10). Photo by David L. Govoni ©2013
Sequence of the pair taking off. We found it interesting how they communicate by puffing up their necks and leaning forward before they take off in unison. Very cool!
The Whooping Crane (Grus americana), the tallest North American bird, is an endangered crane species named for its whooping sound. In 2003, there were about 153 pairs of whooping cranes. Along with the Sandhill Crane, it is one of only two crane species found in North America. The Whooping Crane's lifespan is estimated to be 22 to 24 years in the wild. After being pushed to the brink of extinction by unregulated hunting and loss of...