• picture
  • picture
PRI's Environmental News Magazine

BirdNote ® Whooping Cranes

Air Date: Week of November 8, 2013

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

Whooping Crane and Sandhills on the Platte (┬ęThe Crane Trust)

Whooping Cranes are the largest and most endangered of US wading birds. In the fall, small planes track their migration as they stop off at the Platte River in Nebraska, as Michael Stein reports for BirdNote.

Transcript

CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth, I'm Steve Curwood

[MUX - BIRD NOTE® THEME]

CURWOOD: As well as shorter days, migrating birds are a feature of this season, especially on
the major routes that transit North America, like the Central Flyway from the Gulf of Mexico to
Canada. Here's Michael Stein with our BirdNote®.


Whooping Cranes (© Claire Timm)

[WIND ON THE LAND PLUS WATER AT RIVER’S EDGE]

STEIN: We’re here this early November dawn on the Platte River in Central Nebraska. Out of the
east, in the first light, flying low above the river’s braided channels comes a small aircraft.

[Sound of Cessna 172 four-seater airplane]

You could call it the Platte River Crane Plane. The pilot and two observers are searching for
Whooping Cranes.

[BUGLING OF WHOOPING CRANES]


Sandhills over the Platte (© J. Reed)

With a population of just 270, these birds are among the most endangered in North America.
Breeding in Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada, the cranes fly south to winter along the coast
of Texas. In Autumn they pass through the Platte River Valley, typically during late October and
early November.

[BUGLING OF WHOOPING CRANES]


Sandhill Crane (© Tom Grey)

If cranes are spotted, a ground crew hurries to their location to monitor the birds’ behavior and
document their choice of habitat. This careful observation is made possible by a precedent-setting
court ruling giving endangered wildlife and their habitat legal standing in the use of the Platte
River’s water.

Two planes fly every day between early October and early November.They fly at first light because the cranes, to protect themselves from predators, stand in the river’s shallow waters at night.
One could do worse than to be, at dawn, an observer of cranes.

[BUGLING OF WHOOPING CRANES]

I’m Michael Stein.

CURWOOD: To see some photos of the Whooping Cranes, swoop on down to our website LOE.org.

[Written by Todd Peterson. Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Bugling call of Whooping Crane [WHCRguard] recorded by J. Huxmann. Wind in reeds recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet.com. Lapping of water recorded by C. Peterson.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler. Producer: John Kessler Executive Producer: Chris Peterson © 2013 Tune In to Nature.org November 2013 Narrator: Michael Stein]

 

 

Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Newsletter
Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.