Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Anschutz, "Whooping Crane Sightings in Nebraska, August 1994-January 1995," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1994) 62(4).


Copyright 1994, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


The first arrival at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in southern Texas was on October 5, 1994, and the last arrivals (a family group) were on January 12, 1995, the latest date that an adult pair had ever arrived at Aransas. A total of 132 (125 adult/subadult and 7 young) Whooping Cranes are wintering at Aransas, including 3 birds that spent the summer at Aransas. A solitary chick sighted with Sandhill Cranes in Oklahoma on January 2, 1995 is the 133rd crane in the flock. Since, under optimum conditions, 148 cranes were expected to reach Aransas during the fall migration, the location and cause of summer and migrational losses are not known.

The first dates for confirmed observations of migrating Whooping Cranes were August 16 in Canada and September 7 in the United States. The last sighting date was January 5 in Oklahoma. Sightings were reported from Alberta, Canada (1); Saskatchewan, Canada (18); Montana (1); North Dakota (5); South Dakota (2); Nebraska (5); Kansas (13); Oklahoma (4); and Texas (1).

The migration progressed slowly, perhaps due to the mild weather during September and October. There were two or more Whooping Cranes present at Cheyenne Bottoms State Wildlife Area, Kansas, between October 13 and November 29, with a peak of 18 birds on November 1. A group of five Whooping Cranes was present at Cheyenne Bottoms between October 25 and November 29 (36 days), which is a record migration stopover time for the United States.