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  • Whooping Crane

    Whooping Crane Numbers Look Good

    Aerial survey results are in! Biologists estimate 308 whooping cranes in Aransas-Wood Buffalo population.

    Click here to view full report.

  • Whooping Cranes

    Whooping Cranes, On the Right Track

    Follow along as biologists track Whooping Cranes at Aransas NWR.

    Click here for Youtube video.

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    Whooping Crane Recovery

    Today’s whooping cranes are descendants of the last 15 birds found wintering in Texas in 1941.

    2013 - 2014 Report on Whooping Crane Recovery Activities

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    Whooping Crane Gallery

    View photos, listen to calls, or watch an educational video about the endangered birds

    View the Gallery

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    Get Outside

    Trails, overlooks, a fishing pier and 40’ observation tower offer many opportunities to get outside and enjoy the refuge.

    Visitor Activities


Tracking Whooping Cranes


Researchers from multiple organizations are working together to track the population using GPS devices. The devices record 4-5 locations every 24 hours and help identify migration routes, habitat use, nesting areas and more. This great video from Texas Parks and Wildlife highlights the important work done and how it will benefit the endangered bird.

Whooping Crane Tracking Study


Whooping Crane Updates

The refuge posts Whooping Crane Updates while the cranes are on the Texas coast, their winter home. Get the most recent information on aerial surveys, habitat conditions and how the refuge is managing for the benefit of these endangered birds.

While the Birds are Here

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS  

Follow NWRS Online



  • Visitor Center Hours

    The Visitor Center is open Thursday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. It is closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas. The refuge auto tour and trails are open daily from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

  • Best Available Science

    The refuge uses Distance Sampling to estimate the population of whooping cranes within an established survey area. This survey method has been used to estimate populations of many other rare and endangered species, including fin whales, Karner butterflies and raptors. The refuge is not only interested in estimating the population within the survey area, it is also important to collect data on habitat conditions, food sources and other information that will lead to the best management decisions for the whooping cranes and other wildlife species.

    Counting the Birds
  • Fun Alligator Fact

    The average life span for an alligator that survives its first two years of life is about 50 years!

Page Photo Credits — All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Pier / Jeff Adams, Whooping Crane / Ryan Hagerty ©
Last Updated: Jul 07, 2015
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