Watch Out for Whooping Cranes

The drought in Texas has had a devastating effect on Whooping Cranes wintering along the Gulf Coast. The lack of rain has meant fewer blue crabs, the primary food source for wintering whoopers. Almost eight-percent of the flock has died and many may not be healthy enough to make the spring migration to Canada. Rod Rice report that Texas Parks and Wildlife is looking for help in following the migrating flock.

Migration is the most dangerous time for Whooping Cranes even when times for them are good. The birds will fly along a 500-mile path through Texas as they head north. Lee Ann Linam is a state biologist and she is asking us to be on the watch for whoopers for the next few weeks.

"It just gives us a better sense of the progress of the migration and what kinds of habitat they're using and if indeed they are in any danger on the way."

She says Whooping Cranes are the tallest birds in North America so they are relatively easy to spot in flight.

"They are mostly white. When you see them in flight, they have black wingtips and a long neck and long trailing legs."

Linam says they usually fly in small family groups so if you see a large flock of white birds they are probably not whoopers. They do resemble some other birds so take a look online or use a field guide to get a better idea of what to look for.

You can call Texas Parks and Wildlife at 800-792-1112 ext 4644 with your report or e-mail Lee Ann Linam at leeann.linam@tpwd.state.tx.us.
 

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...