It’s whooping crane time

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Rare whooping cranes make appearance in Kansas

PRATT – Four adult whooping cranes were spotted on Oct. 28 at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area in Barton County but were gone by the next day. They are part of the only sustaining wild population estimated at 250 birds. Whooping cranes from this population will fly through the state in upcoming weeks, making their way to wintering grounds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Records indicate that most whooping cranes will pass through Kansas between Oct. 17 and Nov. 10, usually travelling in small family groups. It’s not uncommon for the 5-foot-tall birds to stop for rest and food at Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge on their way through.

As part of a cooperative monitoring program supervised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) encourages anyone who spots a whooper to contact their local KDWPT office. Sighting information can be used to alert managers of key areas along the flyway — such as Quivira and Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area in central Kansas — and to provide sighting records for the Whooping Crane Recovery Plan and for whooping crane research in the U.S. and Canada.

For more information, visit the USFWS website at www.fws.gov/midwest/whoopingcrane.

Source: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

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