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Grus Americana newsletters available on line.

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

The latest issue of Grus Americana (Spring 2018), the newsletter of the Whooping Crane Conservation Association, has been mailed to members, to obtain a copy please go to our Membership page to join the WCCA and help support whooping crane conservation, a bargain at only $20.


The newsletter contains items such as:

  • WCCA contributes to the purchase of additional winter habitat at Aransas;
  • an opportunity for members and friends of the WCCA to contribute to whooping crane recovery;
  • effects that Hurricane Harvey had on whooping cranes and their winter habitat;
  • 2018 nesting season in Wood Buffalo National Park;
  • update on the Eastern Migratory Population;
  • update on the Louisiana Whooping Crane Population and
  • Louisiana whooping crane shooting.


The Fall 2017 newsletter and older issues of Grus Americana can be viewed free in our Newsletters archive.

New Grus Americana newsletter available on line.

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
The Fall 2016 Newsletter has been posted.
The Spring 2017 Newsletter is now available to members. If you are not a member, please join the Whooping Crane Conservation Association to get your copy.
The most recent newsletter contains articles on: a record setting year in Wood Buffalo National Park; updates on the Aransas/Wood Buffalo Population, the Eastern Migratory Population, the Louisiana Nonmigratory Population and the remnant Florida Nonmigratory Population; the closure of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center captive breeding program; crab trap cleanup at Aransas; and how members can participate in the purchase of whooping crane habitat. We also introduce a new book on environmental activism, give an update on new charges against a whooping crane poacher and acknowledge the passing of Glen Smart.

Record nesting season in Wood Buffalo National Park

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017
A record number of whooping crane nests have been found in Wood Buffalo National Park during the 2017 nesting survey carried out by Parks Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada. This year’s survey found 98 nests, an increase of 16 over the previous record of 82 set in 2014. Mike Keiser of Parks Canada told us that habitat conditions were excellent with most wetland basins being full. Surveys were conducted May 18-21, 2017 and were done by Parks Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. This was the 51st year of annual surveys of the whooping crane population. Mark Bidwell of Environment and Climate Change Canada said that the large jump in nests from previous years is a result of 2 things; the arrival at breeding age of the large number of young that were produced during the period 2010-2013 and the excellent habitat conditions that provided an abundance of suitable nesting sites for the cranes. The next set of surveys will be conducted in August to determine the number of young fledged.
Photo courtesy of John McKinnon Parks Canada.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Grus Americana (Fall 2016)

The latest issue of Whooping Crane Conservation Association newsletter, has been mailed to members, to obtain a copy please go to our Membership link to join the WCCA and help support whooping crane conservation, a bargain at only $20.

The newsletter contains items such as: how the WCCA was able to participate in a project to secure wintering habitat for whooping cranes on the Texas coast and how you may be able to help support additional purchases of this fast dwindling resource in the future.

We also have important updates on all the wild populations of whooping cranes including the natural Aransas Wood Buffalo Population and the three introduced populations (Eastern Migratory and the Florida and Louisiana Resident populations).

An exciting new children’s book about the bond between a human and a crane is introduced.

There is also an update in the sentencing of an individual who shot two whooping cranes in Eastern Texas and how the WCCA helped solve the case by providing a reward to the informants.

Older issues of Grus Americana can be viewed free at our Newsletters link.

Aransas/Wood Buffalo Report

Dr. Wade Harrell of the US Fish and Wildlife Service has provided the WCCA with the following report on surveys of the Aransas/Wood Buffalo whooping crane population and current habitat conditions on the wintering grounds:


Winter 2015/16 Whooping Crane Survey Results

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Aransas National Wildife Refuge

Matthew Butler and Wade Harrell of the US Fish and Wildife Service have just released the results of this past winters whooping crane surveys. A total of 329 birds were observed on the Aransas National Wildife Refuge and surrounding area, another 9 birds were outside of the primary survey area bringing the population to about 338 birds.

See their full report.

Wintering Whooping Crane Update, March 29, 2016

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator

Whooping crane spring migration has begun. It has been a tremendous winter season here at Aransas NWR, but the whooping cranes seem to be ready to get back up to Wood Buffalo National Park for another breeding season.

Read the full report on the US Fish and Wildlife Services website.

Wintering Whooping Crane Update

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Check out the December 22, 2015 update on Wintering Whooping Crane’s, by Dr. Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator.

Wintering Whooping Crane Update

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator provided us with this update.

Whooping Crane Numbers Look Good

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

308 Whooping Cranes at Aransas. An additional 6 birds were observed outside the survey area indicating that the Aransas/Wood Buffalo Flock may have as many as 314 individuals – see the latest News Release from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.


The Whooping Crane Conservation Association is currently seeking interested people to fill upcoming vacancies on our Executive. All executive positions, including those of the Trustees, are volunteer positions with no remuneration.


We are seeking a person with organizational skills who is interested in becoming the secretary of the WCCA. The secretary is reponsible for keeping track of the membership information and donations. Proficiency with Microsoft ACCESS an asset.

Newsletter Editor

We are seeking a person with writing and organizational skills to put together our newsletter “Grus Americana”. The editor assembles articles of significance and then uses word processing software to form a newsletter. Proficiency with Microsoft Word or other word processing software an asset.

If you are interested in either of these positions, please use the Contact WCCA page. Thanks for your interest.

Wintering Whooping Crane Update, February 22, 2015

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator.

It continues to look like a banner year in terms of habitat conditions, with the Refuge having a greater amount of freshwater on the landscape than we have seen in several years. Fall and winter rains are slowly moving us in the right direction. Whooping Cranes have responded to these conditions by spending more time in the coastal marsh, foraging on the relatively abundant blue crabs and other food resources. While we have still seen some Whooping Crane use of inland habitats this year, that trend is definitely down from the peak of the drought 2 seasons ago.

WhoopersVisitors to the Refuge and those observing Whooping Cranes from boat tours have been in a good position this year to observe use of the traditional coastal marsh habitat. We’ve had some outstanding weather lately, and I encourage everyone to come out and visit us before the Whooping Cranes start heading back North in late March. Many of you will be happy to know that we have reinitiated our Refuge bus tours for February and March. Tours are first-come, first-served, and visitors must register in the visitor center the day of the tour.

The schedule is as follows:

Thursday, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Friday, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Information on Whooping Crane Death Being Sought

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Texas Parks & Wildlife are seeking information about the death of a Whooping Crane. The carcass of the bird was found on January 4. For more information, please see the press release.

Training Surveys & GoPro Video

We were able to fly some training surveys on January 5-6 with our new Refuge Biologist Keith Westlake and Ecological Services biologist Frank Weaver. We are still working through the best way to utilize GoPro Camera technology in our survey efforts, but have some clips of how things look 200 feet above the marsh. We’ll be uploading the survey clips on our Facebook page, so check it out in the coming week.

GPS tracking study & other Whooping Crane observations

While we have not done any additional marking of Whooping Cranes this winter, we are still consistently tracking 20 GPS marked Whooping Cranes for this study. They also have bi-color bands on the leg opposite of the leg with the transmitter. If you happen to see a marked bird, please report it to us with as much information as you can (i.e. Red/Black left leg, GPS right leg, location, other birds in the same area, etc.)

Whooping Cranes outside the traditional wintering area that have been reported to Texas Whooper Watch include a single adult bird associated with a group of Sandhill Cranes in Eastern Williamson County, a pair of adult Whoopers near the town of Refugio, and a pair of adults with 2 juveniles in Northwest Matagorda County.

Habitat Management on Aransas NWR:

The Refuge successfully conducted 3 burns this winter, 2 on the Blackjack Peninsula along East Shore Road (primary Whooping Crane habitat) and one on Matagorda Island. Total acreage burned was more than 12,000 acres.

Recent Precipitation/Salinity around Aransas NWR:

December precipitation: 2.95” @ Aransas HQ

January precipitation: 2.85” @ Aransas HQ

February precipitation (as of Feb. 22): 0.93” @ Aransas HQ

Salinity at GBRA 1: averaging around 24 ppt