Published: June 2010

Whooping Cranes

whooping cranes

Counting Cranes

How many wild whooping cranes are there? Not enough.

By Jennifer S. Holland
Photograph by Klaus Nigge

Nearly grazing the treetops, a tiny red plane swoops in dizzying circles over the bogs and forests of Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park. As pilot Jim Bredy banks hard for another pass, he and his two passengers press their faces against the glass, squinting to spot familiar white smudges on the ground—adult whooping cranes—with russet-feathered young in tow. This wil­der­ness is the summer home of the last wild mi­gra­tory flock of Earth's most endan­gered crane.

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