Greetings all,

The following report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS
biologist and National Whooping Crane Coordinator.

CWS stands for Canadian Wildlife Service; USFSW is US Fish and Wildlife
Service. Crane monitoring involves cooperative efforts and support by both

Anyone wanting to contact Tom about the report or the whooping crane projects
can reach him via email at: Other information,
including archived copies of these reports, can be found at the Texas Whooping
Crane home pages at (Please link to the Texas
Whooping Crane pages through the AOC main home page, as the URLs for the
special site pages may change over time as updates and reviews occur.)

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        January 14, 1999

TO: Division of Endangered Species, USFWS, Albuquerque, NM

FROM: Whooping Crane Coordinator, Aransas NWR, Austwell, Texas

SUBJECT:  Whooping Crane Census at Aransas

An aerial census of the Aransas NWR and surrounding areas made 1/14/99
revealed the presence of 164 adults and 18 young = 182 whooping
cranes.  The flight was made in charter aircraft with Tom Stehn and
Doug Bergeson as observers and Tom Taylor, pilot.

Recap of cranes observed: (179*)

  Refuge   Lamar   San Jose   Matagorda  Welder  Other      Total
   63+5     4+1      33+2       44+6      17+4          161+18=179
* One subadult on San Jose and two subadults on the refuge were
apparently overlooked.

Remarks:  Weather conditions were cloudy in the morning with limited
viewing conditions, but sunny in the afternoon.

Three subadult cranes were apparently overlooked so that the
population at Aransas remains estimated at 182.  One whooping crane
sighted January 4th and 8th near Sabinal west of San Antonio is the
record 183rd bird in the wintering population.  This number (183) is
believed to be the high this century, and is one greater than the peak
population of the 1997-98 winter.  Estimated present are 100 adults,
65 subadults, and 18 juveniles.

Crane o/w-BWsp, the adult female with a broken leg, excluded from the
numbers above, apparently departed Quivira NWR in Kansas on December
29 and it has not been seen since.  Her mate has re-paired at Aransas.

Numbers and distribution of cranes on today's flight were very similar
to last week.  Total numbers on Matagorda and Welder remained the

No upland use was documented  on today's flight.  A blue crab census
done 1/12/99 revealed quite a few crabs still present in the marsh,
along with scattered wolfberry.  Food resources remain excellent for
the whoopers.  Salinities remain low in the marsh.

For the second consecutive week, one whooping crane was seen chasing
sandhills.  More sandhills than usual are in the salt marsh which may
explain seeing interspecific aggression which is rarely observed at

Adult female RwR-YbY continues to reside in her territory with two
other unbanded cranes.  Upon arrival at Aransas, she was located three
times between Oct. 29- Nov. 19 as a duo.  The last 5 locations, Dec.
17 - Jan. 14, she has been with two other apparently larger birds.  I
am speculating that she may be re- pairing with a new male.

The Willow Creek cranes were once again located on Heron Flats,
although they had not been observed there since last week's flight.

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This report is archived on the Texas Whooping Cranes home page at:

Good birding,
Patty Beasley
Corpus Christi, Texas

Patty Waits Beasley, KA5DPW
Corpus Christi, Texas
Hazel Bazemore Hawk Watch
Gulf Coast Continental Flyway editor, HMANA
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