(Photo © Larry Ditto)

Every year, from October through March—and sometimes into April— hundreds of endangered whooping cranes converge to winter on the Texas coast after flying more than 2,500 miles from their summer homes in Canada. Texas’ Coastal Bend is the only place in the United States where you can see the whooping cranes at close range. The most fun time to see them is during Port Aransas’ Whooping Crane Festival, set for February 23-26.

Birding Paradise

The Whooping Crane Festival is held Thursday, Feb. 23 through Sunday, Feb. 26.

The endangered Whooping Crane is the most rare of all cranes, and among the oldest living bird species on the earth. The Whooping Crane Festival is an opportunity to learn more about them, and witness their grandness up close.

The festival aims to feed your curiosity about the majestic birds with a whooping crane boat tour, painting classes, photography workshops, guest speakers and a nature-themed trade show. Birding tours, by land and water, help to offer the best views of the birds that are still recovering from a low of only 21 birds in the wild in the 1940′s to around 600 birds today.

Along with whooping cranes, the festival also offers the opportunity to see other wintering migratory birds in the wetlands and along the shorelines of Mustang Island in Port Aransas. With that in mind, the festival offers participatory events such as a basic birdwatching workshop; a family birding field trip; a shorebird identification workshop and field trip; birding and nature boat tour; island birding van tour; Birds of Port Aransas and Mustang Island workshop and field trip; and photography workshops and field trips by land and boat.

From the March 2017 issue
The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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