Whooping Crane

1/1600s, f9.0, ISO 1250, Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM


The Whooping Crane is the tallest North American bird, is an endangered crane species named for its whooping sound. 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 habitat to just 21 wild and two captive Whooping Cranes by 1941, conservation efforts have led to a limited recovery. As of 2011, there are an estimated 437 birds in the wild and more than 165 in captivity. The Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, Canada, and the surrounding area was the last remnant of the former nesting habitat of the Whooping Crane Summer Range. However, with the recent Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership Reintroduction Project, Whooping Cranes nested naturally for the first time in 100 years in the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in central Wisconsin, USA. They nest on the ground, usually on a raised area in a marsh. The female lays 1 or 2 eggs, usually in late-April to mid-May. The blotchy, olive-colored eggs average 2.5 inches in breadth and 4 inches in length (60 by 100 mm), and weigh about 6.7 oz. (190 g). The incubation period is 29 to 31 days. Both parents brood the young, although the female is more likely to directly tend to the young. Usually no more than one young bird survives in a season. The parents often feed the young for 6 to 8 months after birth and the terminus of the offspring-parent relationship occurs after about 1 year. Breeding populations winter along the Gulf coast of Texas, USA, near Corpus Christi on the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and along Sunset Lake in Portland, Matagorda Island, Isla San Jose, and portions of the Lamar Peninsula and Welder Point, which is on the east side of San Antonio Bay.
Rockport, Texas
 
04/05/2012