Welcome Friends

Friends of the Wild Whoopers,  (a.k.a FOTWW) is a 501c3 nonprofit conservation organization whose mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat.

We would like to educate those who have an interest in protecting this beautiful American bird, as well as bringing you the latest news on the Whooper.

Make sure you subscribe to stay informed. If you would like to contribute in any way, we would love to hear from you. Donations are always welcome to help with our expenses.

 

506 Wild Whooping Cranes Estimated at Aransas NWR this past winter.

Whooping Cranes
Whooping Cranes at Aransas NWR. Photo by Kevin Sims

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated the abundance of whooping cranes in the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population for the winter of 2019–2020. Survey results indicated 506 whooping cranes inhabited the primary survey area (Figure 1). This estimate included at least 39 juveniles and 192 adult pairs.

Figure 1. The sampling area used to monitor whooping crane abundance on their wintering grounds along the Texas Coast of the Gulf of Mexico, USA.

Whooping Cranes expand winter range

“While we did not detect growth in the size of the population this year, we do continue to observe whooping cranes outside of our primary survey area, indicating they continue to expand their winter range,” said Wade Harrell, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator. “Next year, we will be adding the Holiday Beach secondary survey area to our primary survey area given we detected enough whooping crane groups there to meet our protocol for inclusion.”

During winter 2019–2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continued to use a Quest Kodiak aircraft and surveys were conducted in late-January. The primary survey areas (approximately 153,950 acres; Figure 1)were surveyed once during January 27–28, 2020. The secondary survey areas (approximately 169,300acres; Figure 1) were surveyed twice this winter during January 24–27, 2020. A concerted effort was made to survey the secondary areas this year since weather conditions precluded surveying them in winter 2018–2019 and only portions of them have been surveyed since winter 2015–2016.

Growth Rate

The long-term growth rate in the whooping crane population has averaged 4.4%. The population remained stable from winter 2017–2018 to winter 2019–2020 (Table 1). The Canadian Wildlife Service reported 24 whooping crane chicks were fledged at Wood-Buffalo National Park in summer 2018 and 37 in summer 2019. Low fledge rates have resulted in reduced recruitment and no population growth since winter 2017–2018.

During the survey period, some whooping cranes were observed outside of the primary survey areas. Table 2 provides our best understanding of whooping cranes outside the primary survey areas during the survey period. Some birds may have been missed. It is impossible to be certain that individuals did not move between these locations and to/from the primary survey area during the survey period.The survey protocol contains guidelines for promoting secondary survey areas into the primary survey area. This winter, we observed enough whooping crane groups in the Holiday Beach survey area to promote it to the primary survey area in winter 2020–2021.

To read or download the full report with data, click here.

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****

Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

fall migration
                                                                         friendsofthewildwhoopers.org

Share

Giving Tuesday 2020

GIVING TUESDAY NOW | A GLOBAL DAY OF GIVING AND UNITY

On May 5, 2020 we come together as a global community… To give. To help. To thank. To heal. Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of generosity and unity, a day to come together and give back in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19, no matter who or where we are.

In the past, we have been ever so grateful to those how generously donated to Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW) on GivingTuesday. We still feel it is very important to continue our mission of protecting the whooping crane habitat along the Central Flyway and we will continue to do so.

~ However, this year, we are asking you to please consider giving to and helping the small privately owned businesses in your village, town or city. These small shops, pubs, bookstores, restaurants, and boutiques are what keep America going and are the heart of America. They need our help and FOTWW hopes that you will do what you can to help these small businesses on Giving Tuesday.

 

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****

Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

fall migration
                                                                         friendsofthewildwhoopers.org
Share

50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Friends of the Wild Whoopers, (FOTWW) is joining the millions of people around the world celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by fighting for the future of Whooping Crane habitat along the Central Flyway. To date, FOTWW has evaluated and made recommendations on 41 military bases, 7 of the 8 Native American reservations, and 34 Army Corps Of Engineers lakes in 7 states along the traditional migration corridor. With the wild population increasing and climate change, these stopover locations will serve a more important role as habitat along the Gulf Coast disappears. #EarthDay2020

Earth Day
                           Earth Day 2020

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****

Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

fall migration
friendsofthewildwhoopers.org
Share

2020 Whooping Crane Spring Migration Underway

by Pam Bates

Spring Migration Underway

Spring Migration
Whooping Crane at Rowe Sanctuary during the 2020 spring migration. Click to enlarge.

Some of the birds in the world’s only remaining wild population of Whooping Cranes have begun their annual spring migration back to their nesting grounds at Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada. The others will follow soon. They are repeating an event that has been going on for thousands of years. Following good conditions during the winter season on their Aransas National Wildlife Refuge winter grounds, the Whoopers appear to be in healthy condition. So, as the remaining Whoopers join the early birds and depart on their 2,500 mile migration to their nesting grounds there is hope for a successful reproduction and nesting season.

Traveling in small groups the Whoopers are expected to begin arriving at their nesting grounds during late April and May.

Spring Migration
Whooping Cranes – Rowe Sanctuary Photo: © 2016 John Smeltzer

Report your observations

Friends of the Wild Whoopers is asking the public to report any Whooping Cranes they see along rivers, wetlands and fields. Report your observations to the wildlife agency in your state.

Whooping Crane Migration Map
Whooping Crane current and former range and migration corridors. Click to enlarge.

If you should observe a whooping crane as they migrate along the Central Flyway, please report them to the proper agencies. We have compiled a list of agencies and contact information below. If you need help with identification, please click on our Whooper Identification page.

Montana reports

Allison Begley
MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks
1420 East Sixth Avenue
Helena, MT  59620
abegley@mt.gov
(406) 444-3370

Jim Hansen
MT Fish, Wildlife, & Parks
2300 Lake Elmo Drive
Billings, MT  59105
jihansen@mt.gov
(406) 247-2957

North Dakota

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices at Lostwood, (701-848-2466)
Audubon, (701-442-5474)
National wildlife refuges
North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, (701-328-6300) or to local game wardens

South Dakota

Eileen Dowd Stukel; eileen.dowdstukel@state.sd.us; (605-773-4229)
Casey Heimerl; (605-773-4345)
Natalie Gates; Natalie_Gates@fws.gov; (605-224-8793), ext. 227
Jay Peterson; Jay_Peterson@fws.gov; (605-885-6320), ext. 213

Nebraska

Nebraska Game and Parks (402-471-0641)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (308-379-5562)
The Crane Trust’s Whooper Watch hotline (888-399-2824)
Emails may be submitted to joel.jorgensen@nebraska.gov

Kansas

Jason Wagner
jason.wagner@ks.gov
(620-793-3066)

Ed Miller
ed.miller@ks.gov
(620-331-6820)

Whooping Crane sightings at or near Quivira NWR should be reported to:
Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
620-486-2393
They can also be reported to this email:  quivira@fws.gov

Oklahoma

Sightings can be logged online here

Matt Fullerton
Endangered Species Biologist
(580-571-5820)

Mark Howery
Wildlife Diversity Biologist
(405-990-7259)

 

friendsofthewildwhoopers.org logo
friendsofthewildwhoopers.org

***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

Share