LAMAR — Some 270 whooping cranes are wintering on the Texas coast — four more than last year — but the endangered birds face food and water shortages due to drought, a federal official says.
The world’s only wild flock of whooping cranes spends winters in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge before returning to Canada and Wood Buffalo National Park.
Counting captive birds, the global population stood at more than 500 in September. The low was 15 in 1941.
Tom Stehn of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said blue crabs, which in a good year make up 80 to 90 percent of the cranes’ diet, are in short supply. Wolfberries, another main food source, are also scarce. — The Associated Press