The following report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and US Whooping Crane Coordinator.
Where applicable, CWS stands for Canadian Wildlife Service; USFWS is US Fish and Wildlife Service. Crane monitoring involves cooperative efforts and support by both countries, plus many volunteers and non-profit organizations along the way.
Anyone wanting to contact Tom about the report or the whooping crane projects can reach him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Other information, including archived copies of these reports, can be found at the Texas Whooping Crane web site at http://www.ccbirding.com/
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Here's another reason to celebrate on the 4th of July!
Whooping crane production surveys carried out June 16-21 by Regional Pilot/Biologist Jim Bredy, Tom Stehn, USFWS and Brian Johns, Canadian Wildlife Service, documented a record number of 66 chicks hatched from 54 nests, surpassing the previous high of 58 chicks produced in 1997. Productivity was excellent with 85% of the nests producing one or two offspring. From the 54 nests, 20 pairs hatched twins, 26 hatched singles, and 8 pairs did not hatch any offspring.
I am brimming with optimism that this number of chicks found in June should result in a population increase this winter to hopefully reach 200. Last winter, a record 194 whooping cranes wintered at Aransas.
My thanks to Refuges-Region II and the Canadian Wildlife Service for funding this worthwhile survey effort. With intensive studies underway at Aransas relating to fresh water inflows, blue crabs, and whooping cranes, it is essential that data be obtained in June on flock productivity to relate it to the previous winter's food base at Aransas.
Whooping Crane Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 100
Austwell, TX 77950
(361) 286-3559 Ext. 221
fax (361) 286-3722
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Patty Waits Beasley
Corpus Christi, TX