In 1941, the year of Pearl Harbor and beginning of WW2, only 22 Whooping Cranes existed on earth due to habitat loss and over-hunting. They were headed toward extinction. Thanks to determined conservation groups and others, the great birds are on the rebound. Most of the estimated 600 birds world wide winter in South Texas at the Aransas NWR near Rockport. We took a bird tour boat 15 miles across Aransas Bay to the barrier islands that form the Refuge. We were able to view the cranes up close without disturbing them and watched a pair of adult birds with their handsome first-year colt. Numerous species of shore birds thrive on the Refuge, including American Oystercatcher, Reddish Egret and White Ibis, but the whoopers are the stars of the show. Janet and I were thrilled to see them! Crane photos by Janet Dochnahl. Walk The Earth.

The Amazing Story of How the Whooping Crane Defeated Extinction (