Whooping Crane

Female Whooping Crane at the International Crane Foundation

This female Whooping Crane has been in the Amoco Whooping Crane exhibit for the past two seasons. She and her mate built several nests in the Spring of 2009, but no eggs! Hopefully 2010 will prove to be more fruitful. Both she and her partner were some of the last eggs to be collected from the sustaining flock’s nests in Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta/NW Territories, Canada.

In 1941, only 15 Whooping Cranes existed on the entire planet. It was not until 1954 that the nesting grounds of the tallest flying bird in North America were discovered at Wood Buffalo. Fortunately, a wildfire fighting plane was surveying the region and when one of the firefighters looked out the window, he saw these large white birds sitting on nests. The Canadian and American governments moved quickly to send biologists into the nesting areas and retrieve eggs to establish a captive population of this critically endangered species. Today there are a little more than 500 of these majestic birds living –  including both wild and captive flocks.