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The Flight of the Whooping Crane

  • Birds Dwindling

    Birds Dwindling
    By 1938, only two small flocks remained - one nonmigratory flock in southwest Louisiana, and one migratory flock that nested in Canada and wintered in Texas.
  • Decline Continues

    Decline Continues
    The Aransas population reached a low of 15 birds in 1941 which resulted in a decline in diversity and changes in gene frequencies.
  • Louisiana Population Slips

    Louisiana Population Slips
    By 1949, severe weather had decimated the Louisiana population, leaving only the small migratory flock.
  • Last Bird Found in Louisiana

    Last Bird Found in Louisiana
    John Lynch lands his helicopter in White Lake to capture what is believed to be the last living Whooping Crane in Louisiana.
  • Attempts at Recovery

    Attempts at Recovery
    In 1975, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Service began placing whooping crane eggs in sandhill crane nests at Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Idaho. The sandhill cranes hatched and raised the whooping crane chicks, and the chicks learned the migration route from their surrogate parents.
  • Memorandum Signed

    Memorandum Signed
    In 1985, the Director-General of the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entitled “Conservation of the Whooping Crane Related to Coordinated Management Activities.”
  • Florida Introduces Birds

    Florida Introduces Birds
    Up to 20 chicks are released to central Florida each year to begin a new population of non-migratory whooping cranes. Reintroduction efforts for this new flock of whooping cranes began in 1993.
  • The First Hatchlings

    The First Hatchlings
    In 2002, a pair from this flock hatched and fledged the first wild whooping crane chick in the U.S. since 1939.
  • Louisiana Arrival

    Louisiana Arrival
    The flock of Louisiana Whooping Cranes arrive in the state via a private jet from Patuxent, Maryland.
  • Finally Free

    Finally Free
    The birds are released from their holding area and allowed to fly free.
  • Research

    The birds will contunually be on watch with GPS tranmitters and researchers studying their patterns.