What Is Whooping Crane Festival?
The Celebration of Whooping crane festival is one of the noble measures taken to draw the attention of the masses to the rare and endangered whooping cranes, the tallest North-American birds; they are named so because of the whooping sound which they make.
The whooping crane festival is held at Port Aransas, US, as the birds migrate to the wetlands and Texas shorelines of the Mustang island. The coastal bend is the only place where these birds can be seen.
Why Is The Whooping Crane Festival Organised?
The Whooping Crane Festival is organized to celebrate the migratory whooping cranes at the Aransas National Wildlife refuge, their habitat for the winter season. Whooping cranes are among the oldest bird species existing on Earth, but in 1941 only 15 whooping cranes were remaining, and they were on the verge of extinction because of reckless hunting and habitat loss.
They were put on the list of endangered species under the Endangered Species Act in 1973. The celebration of the whooping crane festival honours these rare birds. These birds are usually seen in small groups, the group consists of 7-8 birds., They can also be seen with the Sandhill cranes.
What are the Highlights of the Whooping Crane Festival?
The major highlights of the Whooping Crane festival are huge exhibitions of paintings, photographs, models are arranged to honour these beautiful birds., along with that, there are different type of workshops, seminars by famous speakers who are engaging experts in their departments, field trips, birding tours by land and sea which definitely invokes the nature lover inside of us. Free trade shows are arranged featuring a lot of unique vendors.
One of the festival’s highlights is a seminar by George Archibald, who is the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. The whooping crane festival is so lively that people of all ages can enjoy and learn something new and interesting during this period.
These magnificent birds visit the gulf coast during winter after migrating from Northern Canada. The whooping cranes cover a migration route of more than 2000 miles. They start their journey in October and reach their destination for winters, Mustang Island, in November. They stay in Port Aransas from November to April.
The whooping crane festival provides a golden opportunity for all the visitors and the vacationers to experience the world’s rarest of crane species along with other beautiful and unique bird species like peregrine falcons, roseate spoonbills, and cinnamon teal. Another benefit of this festival is that the whole community makes this festival a huge success.
Conservation and Prevention Measures to Protect the Endangered Whooping Crane
If anyone tries to hunt the cranes, then huge penalties are there to punish the wrongdoers. The rates of fine can be very high. We can learn more about conservation from the leading experts from the US Fish and Wildlife, Louisiana Fish and game, Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park, the International Crane Foundation, and the University of Texas Marine Science Institute.
Celebration of the Annual Whooping Crane Festival
The celebration of this whooping crane festival was initiated in 1996. Since then, every year, it is being celebrated with full enthusiasm and cheerfulness., local birding tours will be arranged in February instead of the actual Whooping Crane festival, and online registrations for the same have been started already.
The whooping cranes are important to the ecosystem as the cranes eat various food., they are both herbivores and carnivores, which makes them omnivores. They eat insects, crustaceans, mollusks and, in turn, can be food for foxes, wolves, coyotes. They are a part of the food chain that balances Earth’s ecosystem, which is why they are to be conserved and protected.
Why Should you Attend the Whooping Crane Festival?
You should definitely consider adding the whooping crane festival to your bucket list because the whooping cranes are not just another bird species. They are the rarest of birds that were on the verge of extinction a few decades back. Only 4 breeding females were remaining, but then with the active efforts, determination, and dedication of the real heroes who were the environmentalists, the government biologists, and all the other people who came to the rescue of the vulnerable birds and came forward to work for such a noble and kind cause the crane population returned from the verge of extinction.
Even though they are still considered to be among the Endangered species, we hope that their population returns to normal with the current awareness and protection. Birdwatching is becoming popular now among people.
The whooping cranes whose breeding grounds in the huge wood Buffalo National park in Northern Canada were not discovered till 1954. The population graph of the whooping cranes is likely to move upwards in coming years, especially in the Aransas wood buffalo national park, where the population grew to 505 birds in 2018.
Some Facts about Whooping Cranes, Which are the Focus of this Whooping Crane Festival
Physically the whooping cranes are among the most beautiful and breathtakingly gorgeous looking birds, with a height of nearly 5 feet tall. They are all white with black primaries and a bright red crown on their head, making them even more mesmerizing.
The nests of the whooping cranes are called floating nests as they are built in the shattered hollow six to ten inches deep. These birds, along with making whooping sounds, also perform an elaborate courtship dance together.
These birds’ lifespan is 22 to 23 years, and their wingspan is up to 7 feet, 7 inches. Birds like American white pelicans, Sandhill cranes, snow geese, Great egrets, American white ibis, wood storks are some of the look-alikes of the whooping cranes.
The whooping cranes fly with their legs and neck outstretched. Another amazing fact about the whooping cranes is that most of them sleep while standing; they prefer to stand in shallow water and usually on one leg, with their head and necks under one of their shoulders., However, to protect their eggs from predators, they sleep near their nests in the breeding season and guard their eggs and young ones.
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