Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator
We successfully completed our annual whooping crane abundance survey last week. We flew 6 surveys, beginning on Monday, December 7 and ending this past Thursday, December 17, 2015. We did have several weather-related delays such as lingering fog, so we feel extremely fortunate that we were able to complete the 6 survey flights that our whooping crane abundance survey protocol requires. Once again, Terry Liddick, pilot/biologist from our migratory birds program, served as pilot, flying a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Cessna 206. Observers were Wade Harrell and Beau Hardegree (Coastal Program Biologist, Corpus Christi FWS office). Doug Head (Refuge Inventory & Management biologist) served as ground survey coordinator and Diane Iriarte (Refuge biologist) served as data manager.
Data management and analysis once the actual survey is complete is a significant effort conducted by multiple staff members, so we won’t have the final results to present for a few months. However, here are some general post-survey observations:
We consistently observed whooping cranes using 4 units of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (Blackjack, Matagorda, Tatton and Lamar) and 3 Texas coastal counties (Aransas, Calhoun and Matagorda).
Read the full report.