Highlights of the 2014 Whooping Crane Festival!
As we celebrated our 18th year hosting the Whooping Crane Festival, conservation efforts and expansion of territorial habitat drew top interest from attendees. The only natural migrating flock of endangered Whooping Cranes, which winter in close proximity to Port Aransas at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, spend approximately five months before returning to their nesting grounds at Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territory of Canada. As the numbers slowly increase, tracking them becomes more challenging, as does ensuring there is adequate food supplies in a precarious environment.
Over 700 registrants enjoyed our most interesting festival this past February with participants from 28 states and five countries. We had more than 2,000 visitors at the various birding sites in Port Aransas, and more than 3,000 attendees enjoyed the Bird’s Nest Trade Show which is full of all things natural and environmentally friendly.
Expanded features included a continental breakfast with a “prep mini course” on what to expect on the boat trips aboard the Wharf Cat, guided by internationally famous Dr. George Archibald, the world’s foremost crane authority. New birding tours enabled attendees to see more shorebirds and the immense diversity of habitat in our area that attracts unusual species during the winter months. New additions also included an afternoon photography workshop boat trip, as well as an overnight excursion to La Copita Ranch with a stargazing expert. All of these first time events proved to be popular and will be repeated for 2015.
Make plans to attend our 19th annual Whooping Crane Festival February 19-22, 2015 and join us as we celebrate these phenomenal endangered Whooping Cranes!
The 2014 Festival in Photos
Participating in the WCF for the first time - with two grandchildren - was a great experience. We were impressed with the organization of it and the quality of the lectures. They were both interesting and informative. A highlight for the four of us was the boat trip to view the exceptionally large group of cranes with a big bonus in having Dr. Archibald's company and comments.-Phyllis and Bert M., Isabella and Preston G.
My husband and I were very impressed with your activities during the festival. We are both amateur, beginner birders but felt completely at ease among more experienced folks. We took part in a boat tour (out of Woody’s) which was excellent, a van tour which was VERY informative and went to two of the presentations. I would do them all over again in a heartbeat! This was our first trip to Port A and part of the reason we decided to return next winter is your event. We have even considered offering to volunteer. So I would like to thank you for your dedication to this event and look forward to participating next year.-Mary B.
Thank you for planning and hosting the 2014 Whooping Crane Festival. We thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much. Thank you especially for your hospitality. We arrived Wednesday without pre-registering and everyone was so helpful and friendly. The people of Port A we found to be as friendly as advertised and the Chamber staff epitomized this.-Rainey and Patti H.
Thank you again for a great silent auction prize! My mother and sister-in-law and I really enjoyed our birding expedition. On the boat tour, we were fortunate to see several pairs of whoopers up close and even had one pair fly over us! The dolphins also cooperated with our boat trip captain and his Jimmy Buffet music - which he said they loved!-Lu H.
The Festival was wonderful! It was so wonderfully organized. Everything went so smoothly. The leaders were so informative. And the volunteers at the Birding Center were terrific. Most of my first sightings occurred there. My sister and I went to Giggity's after the dolphin tour. We had the Gouda with chorizo and olives and then we each had fish served with their incredible fire roasted vegetables. Terrific dinner. Thank-Annette J.
you so much.
You folks did a wonderful job with the conference. It's a huge undertaking, and you do it smoothly and professionally.-Dan and Lucky M.