Record Flock of Whooping Cranes Predicted

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - A record-breaking flock of whooping cranes could soon arrive in Texas.

About 300 cranes are expected to arrive at their wintering grounds along the Texas coast over the next few weeks, according to a report in Monday's Corpus Christi Caller-Times.  One crane has been confirmed near Sinton, but none of the 22 radio-tagged birds in the flock had arrived late last week, said Dan Alonso, manager of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

A flock of 300 would break the 2010 population record of about 280.

Alonso says recent rainfall has replenished water, but the whoopers will need more to get through the coming months.

The population has risen from 16 birds in the 1940s. The cranes stand up to 5 feet tall with a wingspan of more than 7 feet.