037 SOJOURNERS - WHOOPING CRANES
Rowe Sanctuary, Platte River, Nebraska. Like ghostly aberrations, three rare whooping cranes stand ankle deep on their roost in the Platte River, bathed in the pink light of dawn. They pause in the Platte River valley and wetland complexes of the Nebraska Rainwater Basins in the spring and fall, utilizing critical feeding and roosting habitat. There, they rest and refuel before continuing their journey between wintering grounds on the Texas Gulf Coast and their nesting grounds in Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park. A federally listed endangered species, whooping cranes are the rarest of all crane species in the world, hunted to near extinction by the early 1900's. Thanks to heroic conservation efforts, their numbers are slowly climbing but are still dangerously low. Only 200 or so remain in the wild.