Highlights of the 2013 Whooping Crane Festival!

As we celebrated our 17th 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 600 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 2014.

Make plans to attend our 18th annual Whooping Crane Festival February 20-23, 2014 and join us as we celebrate these phenomenal endangered Whooping Cranes!

The 2013 Festival in Photos