Whooping Crane Whooping Crane
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About the Whooping Crane Migration Study
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Whooping Crane Home Page)

The whooping crane is an endangered species with a success story to tell. Dangerously close to extinction, only 22 cranes remained in the wild in 1940. Year-by-year, the fragile population has slowly recovered reaching an all-time high of 185 birds last winter. These 185 cranes, the world's entire wild population, spend the winter at a single wildlife refuge on the Gulf of Mexico near Austwell, Texas.

Each year, we catch up with the cranes in early March when refuge biologist Tom Stehn is awaiting their departure. After spending the winter under Stehn's watchful eye, the entire flock is about to travel 2,500 miles to their nesting grounds in northern Canada.

As the cranes cross the Great Plains during April, students will receive weekly on-line weather lessons from biologist Wally Jobman. They'll learn how the cranes' migration is affected by the weather patterns the scientist describes. Looking at a weather map students can ask, "Is this a good day for migration?" Based on their new knowledge about thermal currents and the cranes' favored winds, they can predict where the cranes will appear next.

Finally, from the far north, each spring Canadian biologist Brian Johns, of the Canadian Wildlife Service, shares the excitement when the cranes arrive once again on their ancient nesting grounds. We hope you enjoy traveling with the whooping cranes this spring!

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