An aerial whooping crane census was conducted May 15, 2008
at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding
areas. Only a single whooping crane was located. The rest of
the flock has migrated north, with most of the birds
presumably on the nesting grounds in Canada.
The single crane at Aransas was located on a crane territory
I call "North Lamar". It is located on the west side of St.
Charles Bay just northeast of the Lamar Unit of the Aransas
NWR. This is presumably the same crane sighted April 30th at
the Johnson Ranch adjacent to the Lamar Unit.
The estimated size of the flock remains a record 266. The
flock consists of an estimated 144 adults, 83 subadults, and
39 juveniles. There is no evidence of any whooping crane
mortality having occurred this past winter or in the spring
The whooping crane survey was conducted in a Cessna 210
piloted by Gary Ritchey of Air Transit Solutions of San
Antonio, Texas with USFWS observers Darrin Welchert and Tom
Stehn. Visibility during the census was very good. The next
census flight is scheduled for late October. We will try to
monitor the one remaining crane from the ground.