October 18, 2016 – Whooping Crane (Grus americana)
Requested by: @freshommlette
Once found in much of North America, these Endangered cranes suffered a severe population decline leaving only 21 wild birds alive in the 1940s. Today there is a wild migratory population breeding in Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada and wintering in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, as well as a non-migratory population in Florida. Conservationists began establishing another migratory population in the early 2000s which breeds in Wisconsin and winters in Florida. Omnivorous, they eat a variety of animal and plant foods, including crabs, clams, small fish, frogs, berries, and grains. They are monogamous, usually staying with the same mate throughout their lives and returning to the same nesting territory. Pairs incubate the eggs and care for the chicks together. Though they are still at serious risk from human disturbance and development, their current population has grown to over 500 birds (around 300 in the wild).