Whooping Cranes near Regina, SK Canada

Whooping Cranes near Regina.

On April 21st, Friends of the Wild Whoopers posted a couple photos of a few whooping cranes spotted near Regina, SK, Canada. If you missed that update, you can click on this link Whooping Cranes Migrating Back to Canadian Nesting Grounds to view the photos.

FOTWW has been given permission to share this video of a few whooping cranes near Regina, SK, recorded on April 20, 2014. A very special thank you to Sask Birder for allowing FOTWW to share these rare glimpses of the wild whoopers with everyone.

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

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USFWS Whooping Crane Migration Update

Dr. Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator reports that most of the Aransas/Wood Buffalo flock of whooping cranes is now on their way to their Canadian nesting grounds. The Aransas/Wood Buffalo flock is the only remaining self-supporting flock on planet earth.

Whooping Crane Migration Map
Whooping Crane current and former range and migration corridors.

Dr. Harrell advised that, “Whooping crane migration is well underway. We estimate that less than 20% of the population is still on the Texas coast wintering area and that number should quickly dwindle over the next week or so. A significant portion of the population appears to have made it across the border into Canada. Right now we have whooping cranes spread out from the wintering grounds nearly to the breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park. Though the cranes seem to leave in mass, they actually have staggered departures and leave in small groups. This is important as it ensures survival of the species. If they were to all leave together and encountered bad weather or some other catastrophic event, it could put the whole population in jeopardy.”

Harrell also explained that GPS tracking of the whoopers continues. He described that “As of Sunday, April 21, four of the marked birds that we are actively receiving data on were still on the coast. Of those in migration, 12 were in Saskatchewan, eight in the Dakotas, four in Nebraska, two in Oklahoma and one in Texas. Based on this information and other observations, it is likely that more than 80% of the birds in the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population are currently migrating north.”  See Wade Harrell’s full “whooping Crane Update report at: http://www.fws.gov/nwrs/threecolumn.aspx?id=2147549010

For additional information about the Aransas/Wood Buffalo flock migration go to: https://friendsofthewildwhoopers.org/whooping-cranes-migrating-back-canadian-nesting-ground/

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Whooping Cranes Migrating Back to Canadian Nesting Grounds

by  Friends of the Wild Whoopers

Whooping cranes are now well underway on their long 2,500 mile migration back to their nesting grounds. While some of the birds are still at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas coast, many are working their way northward to Canada. The birds are departing Aransas Refuge in good condition due to improved habitat conditions there. Soon they will reach Wood Buffalo National Park Canada where they will build their nest and raise their young.

“Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW) received a report yesterday that four whooping cranes were spotted just outside of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Regina is the capital city of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and is a stopover spot for the AransasWood Buffalo  whooping cranes before reaching Wood Buffalo National Park.

Today, FOTWW received another reported sighting from Regina along with two photographs taken this afternoon. The report read “From what we could see there were three adults and one juvenile feeding at quite a distance from the road. Due to the foreshortening of the telephoto lens, the birds appear closer to the city limits than they actually were.  The field is a few miles past the city limits.

Reports out of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and other places along the Central Flyway have been advising for the past couple of weeks that the wild whoopers have started their migration toward their nesting grounds in Wood Buffalo. Kevin Sims was out on the water yesterday and stated to FOTWW that “We managed to find eight  whoopers today. They were all very far out in the marsh. I was happy to see them it won’t be long now before they are all gone. Back to Wood Buffalo.”

During the past two weeks FOTWW has received a number of reports of whooping crane sightings near Platte River, Nebraska; Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira Refuge, Kansas; and Aulne, Kansas.

The two photos below are proof that they are almost home.

Whooping Cranes migrating back to Canadian Nesting Grounds. Regina, SK

Photo by Saskbird member.

 

Whooping Cranes migrating back to Canadian Nesting Grounds. Regina, SK

Photo by a Saskbird member.

FOTWW wishes to thank the Saskbird member for sending us the report and photos, and for Kevin who has kept everyone up to date this winter with his reports and photographs. Hopefully, we’ll have more reports and photographs, of the wild ones throughout the summer.

 

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Whooping cranes spotted near Aulne, Kansas

Peabody Gazette-Bulletin

By OLIVIA HASELWOOD

Staff writer

Those traveling down Quail Creek Rd. near 140th Rd. may have noticed some large strange looking white birds. Those who noticed the birds for what they were could not get home to get their cameras fast enough.

There are only around 600 wild whooping cranes according to Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, nine of which stayed to rest in a disked milo field near Aulne. The landowner, Eugene Just, had sowed oats in the field.

“If they are eating the oats, I won’t have any oats left,” Just said.

Local bird enthusiast Lloyd Davies of Marion said the birds stopped to eat grain as they made their yearly migration from Texas to Canada.

“They basically make a jaunt from Texas to here, fatten up, and fly the last leg north,” he said. “Since there are only 240 in this flock and only 500 in existence, it’s pretty rare.”

He said most of the flock will travel to the sand hills outside Kearney, Neb., where they will stay for nearly six weeks before completing their trip to Canada.

The cranes were still near Aulne Tuesday, but Davies said they will only stay for a short period before continuing their trek north. Trackers on many of the birds help researchers inform local birdwatchers where the cranes are located.

Davies said this is the first time he has seen the birds in Marion County, but he witnessed three or four outside of Manhattan a couple of years ago.

He noticed that several of the birds were banded and thought they were juveniles, which he said is a good sign of population growth in the right direction.

Mike Carroll of Marion said he was on his way home from church when he saw the cranes in the field.

“My first guess was they were a swan or a crane; they were just too tall for snow geese,” he said. “I saw Lloyd’s post on Facebook and had to go back out there with the camera.”

Carroll returned to the field with his brother-in-law to take photos of the birds.

“I felt quite privileged to have seen them,” he said. “It’s like the first time you get to see one of the eagles at one of the lakes. It’s just really cool.”

Carroll said he is not an avid bird watcher but found the cranes to be too good of a photo opportunity to pass up.

“I just find it interesting to see different birds not generally seen here,” he said.

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