|Whooper and egret|
Photo by Kevin Sims
|Photo by Jim Larson|
The cranes mate for life. Since the female lays 1-3 eggs and generally one chick survives, growth in the population is slow. The juveniles have a cappuccino color to them for about the first year; by the time they
|Family of whoopers|
Visit the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge--from some of the observation areas you can see the whoopers in the distance. Or better yet, take one of the boat trips to get closer. The Jack Flash, owned by Kevin Sims, is smaller and can go right up to the edge of the refuge (we were close enough to hear the calls they make--hear a sample at Cornell's site) but you book the entire boat for up to 6 passengers. The Skimmer, out of Fulton Harbor, is a larger boat but you buy just the seats you need. We took this boat in 2012 towards the end of the whooping bird season so only saw a few. Thanks to all of the conservation efforts, we have the luxury of watching the cranes year after year and I'm looking forward to seeing them again on our next trip to Rockport.