At about 4.9 ft, the whooping crane is the tallest bird in North America. This bird, which is regarded as endangered, is intriguing, both because of its recovery from the brink of extinction and for its inherent beauty.
According to the National Geographic Society, there were only sixteen whooping cranes alive in 1941. At that point in time, it was not illegal to shoot the birds, and people were destroying their natural habitats.
Included in conservation efforts, people have literally led whooping cranes in their migratory paths using ultralight aircraft so as to train the birds to go”home.” Other efforts to prevent the birds from extinction include captive breeding programs and habitat management.
While the total number of birds, either captive or free, still less than 500, wild whooping cranes are now following their traditional migratory paths, a hopeful sign for the birds’ future.
Whopping Crane Information
Adults are predominantly white, with red crowns on top of their heads. They have long, pointed bills. Juveniles are often a cinnamon color. These birds prefer to stay in family groups and pairs mate for life. But if one of the mates dies, the other will re-mate if at all possible.
Along with being tall, their wing span is about 7 feet. These birds have a mean life in the wild of 22 to 24 years.
Whooping cranes are omnivorous, meaning that the birds will eat both plants and meat. One of the foods that these cranes like are insects, acorns, shellfish, water plants and frogs.
Now, whooping cranes breed Founded in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park and spend winters in the Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Security plans include diversifying migratory paths and places for breeding and wintering, as the birds’ habitats continue to be under pressure due to contamination and our expanding population.
Whooping cranes’ preferred habitats are wetlands. Cranes not only sleep in water but build up their nests in water for protection against predators. The average number of eggs laid is two, though only one baby usually survives to the fledgling stage.