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Illinois hunting and fishing

This map from the International Crane Foundation shows the winter 2009 whooping crane distribution.

Whooping cranes starting north

February 26, 2009 at 05:52 AM

A trio of whooping cranes have started their spring migration north and could soon be passing through Illinois.

That all depends on wind and weather, of course, but one whooper is already lingering in southern Indiana.

Overall, most of the 87 birds in the eastern migratory population remain at previous locations according to the ICF. The present estimated distribution is as follows: 44 whoopers in Floriday, 18-21 in Tennessee, 7 in Alabama, 4 in Georgia, 4 in South Carolina, 1 in Indiana and 6-9 at unknown locations.

Writes the ICF:

The 2008 ultralight-led whooping cranes at the Chassahowitzka and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuges are doing well. The birds continue to forage outside of their pens during the day and roost in the pens in the evening. A few nights the monitoring crews had a harder time getting the birds back into the pens to roost.  Changes in water levels were a likely cause as this occurred during the same period at both Chassahowitzka and St. Marks NWR.

So keep your eyes skyward in the weeks to come for large white whooping cranes passing overhead as they head north.

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