Cranes: Whoopers & Sandhills

Whooping Cranes

At Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in the winter a person normally sees a family of Whooping Cranes together, which would be parents and the immature crane, who is brownish. However these pictures were taken in 2011 when Texas suffered a severe drought. The Refuge had a controlled burn to help spring-time grass grow better, so the whoopers discovered food there instead of the small crabs they prefer. These giant birds are 52″ tall and have a wingspan of 87″.

Crane Family

Whooping Crane Family

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes winter along the Texas Coast and the pictures below were taken on West Galveston Island. Sandhills are smaller than whoopers, with Lesser Sandhills being 41″ with wingspans of 73″, while Greater Cranes are 46″ with a 77″ wingspan

Flying Sandhills

Sandhills are blurred because they’re flying.

Galveston SAndhills

Sandhill Cranes on West Galveston Island.


Whoopers aren’t territorial here because of little supply of food but most often they are. During a draught, the wildlife refuge burned high foliage so that good grass would grow for All the animals.

Flying Whoopers

Flying Whooping Cranes are amazing to see because of their size.