At about 4.9 ft, the whooping crane is the tallest bird in North America. This bird, which is regarded as endangered, is fascinating, both because of its recovery from the brink of extinction and for its inherent beauty.
According to the National Geographic Society, there were just three whooping cranes residing in 1941. At that point in time, it wasn’t illegal to shoot the birds, and people were destroying their natural habitats.
Included in conservation efforts, people have led whooping cranes in their migratory paths using ultralight aircraft in order to train the birds to go”home.” Other efforts to prevent the birds from extinction include captive breeding programs and habitat management.
Whopping Crane Information
Adults are predominantly white, with red crowns on top of their heads. They may have black wingtips. Juveniles are often a cinnamon color. These birds prefer to live in family groups and pairs mate for life. But if one of those mates dies, the other will re-mate if possible.
Along with being tall, their wing span is about 7 feet. These birds have a mean life in the wild of 22 to 24 years.
Whooping cranes are omnivorous, meaning that the birds will eat both meat and plants. Among the foods that these cranes like are insects, acorns, shellfish, water plants and frogs.
Now, whooping cranes breed predominately in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park and spend winters in the Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Security plans include diversifying migratory paths and locations for breeding and wintering, as the birds’ habitats are still under pressure because of pollution and our expanding population.
Cranes not only sleep in water but build their nests up in water for protection against predators. The average number of eggs laid is two, though only 1 baby usually survives to the fledgling stage.