feature

whooping cranes of louisiana

situation
2011 • Louisiana

In the early 20th century, North America’s whooping crane population experienced a devastating decline driven by several factors:

  • Prairie and marsh habitats converted to farmland
  • Unregulated hunting
whooping cranes in louisiana map
Lear

Goal:

To sustain a population of about 120 individuals and 30 productive pairs for 10 years without additional restocking.

actions taken

LDWF started a new wild population of cranes in Louisiana by releasing a “cohort” of 10 juvenile cranes.

"Cohort" is a term that refers to several young cranes assembled without parents to socialize together so they will thrive as a group.

juvenile white whooping crane with patches of brown

Juvenile markings: White with patches of cinnamon brown

They continued to introduce a new cohort of juvenile cranes each year with the help of other partners.

whooping crane taking flight in louisiana

Adult whooping cranes are the tallest bird native to North America. Adults are easily identified by their black-tipped wings, red head and black facial markings.

wingspan

7-8

feet

lifespan in the wild

22-24

years

weight

11-17

pounds

height

up to 5

feet

whooping cranes are omnivorous

summer diet includes:

whooping crane eating winter and summer diets - frogs

frogs

whooping crane eating winter and summer diets - fish

fish

whooping crane eating winter and summer diets - rodents

rodents

whooping crane eating winter and summer diets - small birds

small birds

whooping crane eating winter and summer diets - berries

berries

winter diet includes:

whooping crane eating winter and summer diets - crabs

blue crabs

whooping crane eating winter and summer diets - clams

clams

results

wild files - results icon

LDWF received support and cooperation from many landowners and farmers whose properties are frequently visited by the cranes.

April 2016 brought the first verified hatching of a whooping crane chick in the state since 1939.

In 2017, Audubon Nature Institute began to provide a significantly increased number of crane chicks raised at their rearing facilities to supplement both the migratory and non-migratory whooping crane populations in Louisiana.

As of 2018, LDWF has introduced 125 juvenile whooping cranes to the Louisiana ecosystem, and seven wild-hatched chicks have fledged successfully.  

Video: See how LDWF biologists introduce juvenile whooping cranes to their new home in Louisiana.

our actions were consistent with our goal to
conserve biodiversity:
we strive to avoid or reduce the potential for significant impacts on sensitive species, habitats and ecosystems

Wild Files is a series on Chevron.com that spans the world to cover interesting examples of how we deliver on our commitment to environmental stewardship.

Published: October 2018