Whooping Crane

The Whooping Crane (Grus americana) is the tallest North American bird. They are early five feet tall and live for more than 30 years. The crane’s common name comes from the “whooping” call it makes with its mate. Whooping crane pairs participate in “unison calling”—a kind of bird duet in which the whooping crane couple make a series of complex calls, which they coordinate with each other. They also dance—bow, jump, run and flap their wings.

Due to Endangered Species Act protection, these majestic red-crowned birds made an amazing comeback from the brink of extinction when only 15 birds survived in 1940. Following decades of effort, whooping cranes are now on the path to recovery, but this success could be erased by the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

There are “two distinct migratory populations summer in northwestern Canada and central Wisconsin and winter along the Gulf Coast of Texas and the southeastern United States, respectively. Small, non-migratory populations live in central Florida and coastal Louisiana.” (https://www.savingcranes.org/whooping-crane.html)

The current population of the crane is around 599.

the Keystone XL pipeline requires the installation of power lines to supply power to pumping stations. The power lines pose a serious threat from collision and electrocution to whooping cranes and other migratory birds.

The fossil fuel industry is intent on building the disastrous pipeline as soon as possible, and their allies in Congress are pushing the project forward without adequate environmental review. The companion bills passed by Congress in late December extending payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits included a rider forcing President Obama to make a decision on the pipeline’s approval by February 21. The pipeline would be a disaster not only for the whooping crane, but also for other endangered species, rivers, and the drinking water of millions of Americans.

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