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Whooping Crane
Grus americana
The Whooping Crane (Grus americana) is one of the best known of America's birds. The species, critically endangered and numbering only about 250 individuals in the wild population (as of late 2010), breeds only at Wood Buffalo National Park in remote Alberta, Canada. The species winters along the central Gulf Coast of Texas, primarily at Aransas NWR in Aransas County. Standing more than four feet tall, this species is sought by birders and naturalists on its wintering grounds. While distant views of the bird may be obtained from an observation tower at Aransas NWR, most close observations are from a boat along the intercostal canal that runs through Aransas refuge. I had seen Whoopers on many occasions but had never succeeded in getting good photos of the species until recently. In February, 2001, some friends and I were lucky enough to have a pair of birds that actually approached our boat as if in curiosity and allowed me to take lots of photos. The initial photos on this page were all taken on that occasion with a Canon EOS 3 and 500mm F/4 L IS lens with either a 1.4X or 2X extender on Fuji Velvia. The camera and lens were mounted on a Gitzo tripod which was simply set up on the deck of the boat.
The bird on the right has grabbed a small crab and is tossing it around before eating it.
The pair on the right is preening.
 
This bird is a juvenile, born during the summer of 2000 in Canada.
The Whooping Cranes in the next 10 images shown here were all digital captures with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III and an EF 600mm F/4 l IS lens in Aransas Co., Texas, in March, 2008.
The next 21 images of Whooping Crane were taken in February, 2010, at Aransas N.W.R., from a boat. On this occasion one of the cranes casually walked within 12 feet of our boat allowing some very nice close up images of its face and head. In 30 years, I have never before had this magnificent species approach me that close!

Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010
Whooping Crane
Grus americana
Aransas NWR,
Aransas Co., Texas
20 February 2010