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  • Claudia Fonkert, Macalester College

    April 17, 1997

    Each spring the entire flock of wild whooping cranes takes the annual 2,500 mile journey from their wintering grounds on the Texas Gulf Coast to their nesting grounds in northern Canada. These wild cranes were on the brink of extinction in the 1940's, and only 159 are alive today.

    The spring migration is now underway. Last week, just 55 of the 159 cranes remained on the wintering grounds. Here are sightings recently reported from points along their migratory path:

    Whooping Crane Sightings
    Reported as of April 17, 1997

    Date State/Province Location # Cranes
    4/10/97 TEXAS Still on Wintering Grounds
    (Aransas NWR)
    49 adults, 6 juvenile
    4/15/97 KANSAS Stafford Co., KS
    (Quivira NWR)
    2 adults, 1 juvenile
    4/15/97 KANSAS Edwards Co., KS
    (5 mi. s, 3 w of Belpre)
    2 adults
    4/15/97 NEBRASKA Valley Co., NE
    (1 mi. n, 1.5 e of Elyria)
    12 adults*
    4/15/97 S. DAKOTA Charles Mix Co., SD
    (10 mi. so. of Wagner)
    2 adults
    4/14-15/97 NEBRASKA Buffalo Co., NE
    (2 mi. so. of Gibbon)
    2 adults
    4/14/97 NEBRASKA Kearney Co., NE
    (6 mi. south of Gibbon)
    1 adult
    4/14/97 KANSAS Phillips Co., KS
    (6 mi. north of Kirwin)
    1 adult

    * This is the largest group of whooping cranes ever reported in Nebraska.

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