The Superior Express -

Whooping cranes feed near Webber

 

April 16, 2020

Saturday morning, Rob Unruh, of Kansas Game and Parks, called The Superior Express, his wife, Joan, had spotted a pair of whooping cranes on the Bob Brown pond just to the northwest of Webber.

The entire population of whopping cranes migrate through in the Central Flyway. Their 2,500 mile journey takes them through Kansas and Nebraska. Since the Central Flyway is shaped like an hourglass which narrows in this area. Local residents occasionally get to see whooping cranes, but they still are a rare sight.

They winter near the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas and travel to their breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo Park, Canada.

In the mid-20th century, whooping cranes were close to extinction with less than 20 birds. With conservation and legal protection ,their numbers have slowly increased. The wild population is now less than 300.

If you think you see a whooping crane, do not approach or harass the birds for any reason, as you put them at risk, plus it is a violation of state and federal law. Report the sighting immediately to game and parks or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Whooping cranes are approximately five feet tall and fly with their neck outstretched. Adults are all white with the exception of black wing tips and reddish-black facial pattern.

Observers sometimes confuse them with Sandhill Cranes, American White Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Trumpeter Swans and snow geese, all of which are more commonly sighted in this area and in general are smaller birds.

 

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