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The 115,000-acre Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, the winter home of most of the only self-sustaining wild population of whooping cranes.
The whooper’s black primary feathers are unmistakable, but they aren’t visible when its wings are folded.
For centuries the cranes have wintered in the Aransas Refuge, though the habitat has changed over time—in part to benefit these ancient birds, as with this manmade island.
Two cranes used the managed wetlands on the MyrtleFoester-Whitmire tract in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge all winter.
A whooper in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge moves with a smooth, stately elegance, giving the appearance of effortless gliding, its legs straight, its head and neck erect.
Every year, millions of birds die because of oil pits, power lines, communications towers, and other hazards.
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