Whooping cranes eat blue crabs almost exclusively as they winter over at the Aransas NWR on the Gulf of Mexico. The tide was going out as we came along and this pair was busy feeding.

There were about 14 cranes in view as the boat worked up along the edge of the refuge, two more can be seen in the background. About 290 birds exist in the wild, up from 15 total in existence in the world back in the late 60’s.

It was unusually cold this morning, and only 11 people on the boat. The captain is an avid birder and a happy progressive. His deckhand hadn’t shown up, so being a former sailor I volunteered. I was able to assist a top heavy birder up from the deck after his apparatus took him down when the boat made a sudden maneuver to avoid ramming a grebe.

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