Endangered Flock Makes 2,500 Mile Tour of North America with Stops in Oklahoma

October 24, 2019
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Whooping Crane_Brett Thompson

(Brett Thompson/ODWC)

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Endangered Flock Makes 2,500 Mile Tour of North America with Stops in Oklahoma

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Whooping cranes, some of North America’s rarest birds, are expected in Oklahoma this fall as they migrate from their nesting grounds in Saskatchewan, Canada to wintering grounds along the Texas coast.

“We’ve been compiling Oklahoma whooping crane sightings for decades; documenting important stopover areas and tracking the timing of their migration through our state,” said Matt Fullerton, biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. 

Most whooping crane sightings come from western Oklahoma, east of Guymon and west of Interstate 35. 

“By the time the first migrating groups of whooping cranes reach the state in mid- to late-October, they’re nearly three-quarters of the way into their 2,500 mile journey. They may touchdown in our wetlands or wheat fields for a few days to rest and refuel before flying to Texas.”  

Whooping crane sightings can be shared at wildlifedepartment.com or by contacting Fullerton at matthew.fullerton@odwc.ok.gov or at (580) 571-5820. Reports will be shared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

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