As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Rare Whooping Cranes visit Medstead

Corrina Murdoch , Correspondent / Battlefords News-Optimist

April 25, 2017 12:49 PM

The majestic Whooping Crane, currently on the endangered species list, paid the beautiful RM of Medstead a special visit April 18, and they seem to be stick around. These birds have been on the endangered list for many years now, with population numbers having dipped as low as 21 in 1941. Currently, according to Nature Canada, the population has risen to a global total of roughly 300. It is hoped that this number will continue to rise.

Though the rising population is seen as hopeful, the cranes do not have their future guaranteed. Their numbers have been growing gradually over the years, but the birds are very sensitive to human interaction and have been in an uphill battle over the last few decades. Various conservation groups are very vocal as to the need to keep these glorious creatures protected.

Whooping cranes are the tallest birds in North America at almost one and a half meters in height. They boast an ability to fly without stopping for ten hours, covering over seven hundred kilometers. During migration, this species is known to eat grain from farm crops. Perhaps this is why they were seen in the thriving farmland of the RM of Medstead.

Part of the magic lies in the fact that, though Saskatchewan has been a breeding ground for these creatures in the past, they have mostly been seen in the area of Midnight Lake, near Glaslyn. Reportedly, however, their primary locations are Wood Buffalo National Park (near the Alberta-Northwest Territories border) and down to the Texas Gulf Coast for their wintering. It is a special treat when any person has the chance to see these rare birds. 

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