Whooping Crane Recovery Report (2012-2013)

The Report on Whooping Crane Recovery Activities provides information on the birds' 2012 breeding season through the 2013 spring migration. It was prepared by the Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinators for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Download the report here.

Executive Summary
Whooping cranes are one of the most rare, highly endangered and intensively monitored bird species in North America. The Aransas-Wood Buffalo population (AWB), which breeds in northern Canada and winters in Texas, is the only remaining wild, self-sustaining migratory population of whooping cranes.

In summer 2012, surveys of the AWB detected 66 nests (May) and 35 chicks (July) resulting in an average number of chicks fledged per nest (0.53) that was slightly higher than the long term average of 0.48. In winter 2012 (Nov-Dec) the peak population size of the AWB on the primary wintering grounds was estimated as 257 birds (95% confidence interval [CI] 178–362) and additional birds were located outside the survey area.

Whooping cranes faced challenging conditions due to forest fires during the 2012 breeding season and continued drought during the wintering season. Several projects were undertaken by a variety of agencies to monitor and investigate the ecology of the AWBP population, including the continuation of an initiative to mark individual birds with satellite transmitters to track their movements during the annual cycle. By the end of 2012, 57 whooping cranes had been marked on the breeding and wintering grounds and 39 marked birds were continuing to provide data. In addition to the AWB, other populations of whooping cranes exist in Wisconsin, Florida, and Louisiana due to the efforts of many government agencies and non-governmental organizations, including the captive breeding centers where whooping cranes are reared for reintroduction. By the end of 2012 there were approximately 147 birds in reintroduced populations and 157 birds held in captivity.

Download the Report on Whooping Crane Recovery Activities.