John T. Willis

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Whooping Crane

The June 2010 issue of the National Geographic published a wonderful article on whooping cranes with great pictures. I hope YOU read this article.

The whooping crane, Grus americana, is the tallest American bird, significantly larger than the Great Egret, the Great White Heron, and the Great Blue Heron in Florida. The whooping crane and the Sandhill Crane are the only two crane species in North America. The whooping crane is famous for its whooping sound and call. Experts say the whooping crane lives from 22 to 24 years in its lifetime.

Adult whooping cranes are white with a red crown and a long, dark, pointed bill. In flight, the long necks of the whooping crane is kept straight and its long dark legs train behind. In flight, one can see the black wing tips.

The male whooping crane is five feet tall with a wingspan of 7 and a half feet, weighing 17 pounds. The female weighs approximately 14 pounds.

The whooping crane is endangered. The only remaining nesting location is Whooping Crane Summer Range in Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada and the surrounding area. Recently, naturalists have created a nesting for whooping cranes in the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Central Wisconsin in the USA.

The female lays 1 or 2 eggs in late April to mid May. The blotchy, olive-colored eggs average 2 and a half inches in breadth and 4 inches in length, weighing approximately 6.7 ounces. The incubation period is 29-35 days. Both parents take care of the eggs. The parents feed the young from 6 months to a year.

Breeding populations winter along the Gulf coast of Text, 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 on the east side of San Antonio Bay. The Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahome a a major migratory stopover for the crane population over 75% of the special annually.

Habitat loss is the primary reason the whooping crane is endangered. The primary predators are American Black Bear, wolverine, gray wolf, red fox, lynx, bald eagle and common raven. Experts estimate a little over 400 birds are still alive.

I hope YOU enjoy and appreciate and attempt to protect the whooping crane. This is another creature of God. God is the Creator of all that is. Be grateful to God and praise God for all his creatures. YOU are one of God's creatures.

Share YOUR experiences and thoughts and ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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