AUSTWELL (April 25, 2014) Most of the more than the estimated 300 whooping cranes that spent the winter in Texas have headed home to Canada.
Officials estimate that less than 20 percent of the population remains in Texas, while the rest have reached or are en route to Wood Buffalo National Park, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expert Wade Harrell said.
The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge at Austwell in December had 304 whooping cranes, compared to 257 birds a year earlier when experts switched from head counts to survey flights.
Harrell says four cranes died this year in Texas, including an injured bird that was taken to the San Antonio Zoo.
A carcass was discovered at a waterhole after what evidently was a bobcat attack and two other birds marked with radios died in February.