Whooping crane update

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Mar 3 21:38:01 CST 2005

Dear All,
      With spring approaching, I decided to do an update on the world population of whooping cranes (as of the 3rd week of February 2005).  On December 20th, 2004, I estimated the total population to be 472 (see below), but we have lost 13 whoopers over the winter.

     Tom Stehn's aerial census of February 17th confirmed that the Aransas flock did peak at 217 (including a stray sighted in Colorado that did reach Texas).  Only one chick (not three) apparently died there over the winter (the other two have been located).  Unfortunately, Florida continues to be where most losses continue to occur.  Ten whoopers in the Florida non-migratory flock apparently lost over the winter, plus two in the Wisconsin-Florida migratory flock.  Those 12 lost in Florida, plus the one chick in Texas, now gives a total world population of 459 (although I wouldn't be surprised if one or two others are hanging out with sandhills in the Texas panhandle or southern Oklahoma).  I still expect the whooper population to creep past 500 by the end of 2005, but just barely (and assuming no major setbacks from disease).  Keep your fingers crossed.
      --- Ken Kinman

Numbers of Whoopers (Dec. 20th, 2004):
   217--Aransas flock
    79--Florida non-migratory flock
    48--Wisc.-Florida migratory flock
    55--Patuxent Maryland
    35--Intl. Crane Foundation (Wisc.)
    28--various zoos
     9--"ACRES" (Louisiana)

Numbers of Whoopers (February 2005):

***Not counting one or two whoopers possibly wintering in the Texas panhandle or southern Oklahoma.

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