Each year, sportsmen, bird watchers, and other wildlife enthusiasts can join the Wildlife Department in documenting federally endangered whooping cranes as they migrate through Oklahoma. The first wave of birds has reached our state and Oklahomans can help track the migration path by sharing photographs and sighting details at wildlifedepartment.com.
The 2,500-mile journey from nesting grounds in Canada to wintering grounds in coastal Texas can take nearly two months. The birds may touch down in wetlands or grain fields for a few days to rest and refuel on crustaceans, other small animals, or grain before continuing on to Texas.
The small flocks of whooping cranes that migrate through Oklahoma are part of the only remaining naturally occurring population, known as the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population. Surveys conducted during the winter of 2021 – 2022 estimate the population at 543 birds.