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Viewing Whooping Cranes in Texas

Endangered Cranes Find a Winter Home on Texas Coast


The Texas Coastal Bend has long been a region whooping cranes migrated to for the winter. However this year, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a record number of cranes have touched down along the Texas coast.

Serious and casual birders alike have a couple of options when it comes to viewing these magnificent birds. According to USFWS, their winter range covers about 35 miles of the Texas coast. Within that area do-it-yourself birders will find both the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and Matagorda Island National WMA/State Park. Aransas NWR is the better of the two, but some cranes to make their way over to Matagorda Island WMA. However, Aransas NWR not only boasts a better population of the big birds, but is accessible by car. Matagorda Island WMA is accessible by boat only - either private or the state-operated ferry.

For those interested in going with a pro, the Rockport area has several private tour boat operations to fill the bill. But, whether you go on your own or with a tour group, remember that you are viewing an endangered species. Stay a respectable distance away and try not to do anything that will put the bird in distress or alter their habitat.

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