the Whooping Crane
Western flock is the main flock of
the world's endangered Whooping Cranes.
The Western flock is the only natural, wild migratory flock.
The Western flock is the only self-sustaining flock. These birds breed and migrate naturally. Wild parents teach the wild-born babies the migration route.
Size: This flock was down to only 15 survivors in the 1940s. Every whooping crane alive today descended from the 15 surviving whoopers of the Western migratory flock, also called the Wood Buffalo/Aransas flock. This population graph shows the size of the flock as of March 2, 2011—the last accurate count. Biologists then began using a technique called distance sampling to estimate the size of the flock instead of counting individual birds.
Grounds: Texas, United States
Grounds: Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan, Canada
Migration: The birds migrate about 2,600 miles each spring and each fall. They travel alone, in pairs, or in small groups.
Until reintroduction of a new Eastern flock began in 2001 with ultralight planes to lead the chicks, the Western flock was the world's entire wild migratory Whooping Crane population.
This highly endangered species has been struggling to build its numbers from the all-time low of 15 in the 1940s. It was a joy to celebrate when the Western flock passed the 200 mark in 2004 and passed 250 in 2007!