Whooping Crane - life size A

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The Whooping Crane is one the oldest birds on earth. Fossils dating back 3.5 million years are identical to the modern “whooper.” This magnificent bird, which survived millions of years of planetary change, became gravely endangered after only a few hundred years of European settlement in North America. The Whooping Crane once nested over most of central and western North America, and was commonly seen stopping over at large marshes in the interior of the continent while migrating south. Today, the majority of whoopers breed in Wood Buffalo National Park, located along the border of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, and they winter only in a small marsh on the coast of Texas.

The Whooping Crane is the tallest bird in North America, standing almost 1.5 m tall with a two-metre wingspan. 


Entire wild population estimated at 344 individuals. Wetland degradation and loss may continue to pose threats. Conservation of migratory habitats and potential breeding habitats in Alberta required. Designated as “Endangered” under the Wildlife Act.

Alberta Government - species at risk

In residential areas, impervious, artificial surfaces such as paved roads, driveways, parking lots and rooftops disrupt natural habitats while increasing the runoff of pollutants into watersheds. source


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.