Views of the Neighborhood – Whooping Crane Festival

Here is a description of the festival taken from You can visit the site for information on events.

This festival in its 22nd year is a one of a kind event, focused on the Whooping Crane, the rarest of cranes and one of the most endangered birds in the world.

The Whooping Crane population is at a record high –an estimated 431 cranes wintered at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge last year. This summer, a record 63 Whooping Crane chicks fledged on the cranes’ breeding grounds at Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. The Whooping Crane Festival celebrates the annual return of the cranes to their wintering habitat. The Texas Coastal Bend is the only place where you can see the world’s last naturally occurring population of Whooping Cranes.

World-renowned crane expert, Dr. George Archibald, Co-Founder of the International Crane Foundation, will be one of the featured speakers, along with representatives from Wood Buffalo National Park, Operation Migration, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and more. Festival activities include boat tours to view the Whooping Cranes, interactive workshops and seminars, birding and nature boat and bus tours, a painting and wine tasting class and a free nature-related trade show.

A whooping Crane


Visitors from all over the country come to Port Aransas for the festival

The registration desk with a hanging quilt depicting the T-shirts from 20 festivals.

This year’s shirt

The Whooping Crane chicks are hatched in Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada.

Representatives of the International Crane Foundation

Information on the Estuaries program and how to keep the Gulf beautiful.

An overall shot of the room. There were just too many booths to feature here. There were gifts, art, jewelry and more.

The famous King Ranch was represented offering birding tours.

Information for birders on the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival.

The Port Aransas Animal Rehabilitation Keep was well represented.

Need binoculars?

Fisherman’s Wharf is represented offering tours to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, home of the Whooping Cranes. This is a model of the Wharf Cat, the boat used for the trip.

If you blow up this photo, you can see which birds have been spotted so far.

A picture of the Wharf Cat and bird enthusiasts waiting to board for the tour.

Another shot

Whooping Crane Festival

The captain surveying the landlubbers.

Whooping Crane Festival

Another event that is part of the Whooping Crane Festival is the Wine and Art workshop at the Arts Center

There are wine and snacks too.

Everyone works on their individual rendering of the same piece. Here an artist is drying the background to get ready for the foreground.

Did I mention there was wine?

The artist instructor is demonstrating the application of the foreground.

Here is what each participants piece will look like.

I hope you enjoyed the walk around. It was good to see everyone enjoying themselves.



  1. So… tell me, John, How WAS the wine?

    1. Ha ha ha. I was really too busy to have any. I waited until I got home and it was great there. Thanks, GP.

  2. It looks so cool..I want to visit something like this, but everything is “totally dead” here in sweden right now 🙂 too cold lol waiting for march-april
    Enjoyed your photos!

    1. Thank you, Ray. Yes the winter months don’t offer much in the way of good weather for festivals. Thank you. 😀

  3. Looks like a lot of fun.

  4. Gwen Plano · ·

    What a great tour and festival! Thank you for bringing us along with you. The quilt is ingenious and priceless. 🙂

    1. Yes. It is quite an item. Happy Day, Gwen.

  5. What a great event! Your town really knows how to host a celebration. Happy Sunday, John!

    1. Thanks, Jill. Happy Sunday to you.

  6. Fascinating!

    1. I know right? Thanks, Jennie.

      1. You’re welcome, John.

  7. Seems like a festive atmosphere was happening all around, good to see.

    Did you . . . umm . . . partake?

    1. No, I needed to get back and develop all the films and write that erudite prose. No time to goof off.

  8. A fascinating event at Port A, John – thanks for the tour. I didn’t know that about the park in Canada – so I looked it up and here’s a bit of info I found: “Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest National Park of Canada at 44,807 km2 (17,300 sq mi). It is located in northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories. Larger in area than Switzerland,[1] it is the second-largest national park in the world.[2] The park was established in 1922 to protect the world’s largest herd of free-roaming wood bison, currently estimated at more than 5,000. It is one of two known nesting sites of whooping cranes.”

  9. This seems like a fun and interesting event. I take it that their winter habitat wasn’t too badly damaged by Harvey.

    I notice that no Canada Geese have been seen. Maddie can tell you that we saw about 50 yesterday, heading north, so maybe it’s a little late for you guys.

    I’m curious about one thing. Was their wine?

    1. Ha ha ha. We don’t get Canadian Geese here. I don’t think there is enough vegetation for them to eat. All our birds are definitely fish, crab, mollusk, grub, and other animal protean eaters. Their winter digs were pretty much left intact. We have noticed more Whooping Cranes in our neck of the woods and I think it is because the feeding grounds were hit enough cause them to branch out.

  10. Whatta life you and the family have there in Port Aranas! Special hugs to Bailey and Lucy! 🙂 ♥

    1. Thank you, Billy Ray. Lucy says she thinks she loves you. 😀

      1. Oh, tell her ‘I love her, too’! Bailey okay with that? 🙂

      2. Sure. Bailey is good with it.

  11. That looks like a great time was had by all, whether or not they looked in on the wine and art section… 😛

    1. They did. They are a very passionate group regarding Whooping Cranes too.

  12. Wow! That’s a big event. So good to see lots of people joining in and I am sure the tourism helps the economy. Thanks for sharing, John.

    1. It does, Jan. Good turnout this year. 😀

  13. This was cool. Never thought that Whooping Cranes had their own festival.

    1. Yes they do. And we are the only place in the world where they choose to winter over.

      1. Well, in that case they must make their reservations early.

      2. Sad thing this year is there are so many less rooms. These folks are so committed I’ll bet they would even sleep in their automobile,

      3. Yeah. Hurricane Harvey took a lot of rooms and hasn’t checked out yet.

  14. I’m going to have to Google “Whooping Crane.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard of one before (not unusual, living in land-locked Central Illinois!) Looks like an interesting festival, John — thank you for letting me tag along.

    1. Well there are only four hundred in the world so you probably haven’t had any in your neck of the woods.

  15. This looks like great fun. A friend went down last week with a small group, but they stayed in Fulton, and I think they were on a different boat. The m/v “Skimmer,” perhaps? Anyway, they had a great time, found their accomodations very good, and had nothing but good things to say about the lump crab nachos they ran into! Oh — and I think they had a little wine, too.

    1. Well, lump crab nachos scream for wine. Thank you, Linda. (Now I need to find some lump crab nachos) 😀

      1. I just consulted with my friend. The place they went is Billy Joe’s Craft House. They went on the recommendation of a local, and six of them ordered six different items. All six raved.

  16. A lot of people must have worked hard to present this festival. It’s great the whooping cranes are flourishing. It’s a bright spot of good news when we need it. Good photos, John. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. Yes it is, Suzanne. Thank you.

  17. Whoopee for the cranes — and for Port A for getting back up and running after Harvey. (Okay… you know I can’t resist a play on words.) I really did enjoy this, John — the quilt, the photos, the paintings… I was already on the hook and then you added wine. I’m sorry to be late, but you definitely perked up my Mordor Monday. Hugs on the wing!

    1. By the way, would love to take the Wharf Cat tour — just the name has the steampunk corner of my brain doing a jig.

      1. I can imagine. Thanks, Teagan. 😀

    2. I’m glad. You need some support on a Monday. Hugs.

  18. There is or was a group that incubated whooping crane eggs, then used one of those ultralight planes to lead them to historical winter ranges in other states. Last I heard they were making progress, but funding is an issue. The basic idea was to restore them to these other areas to prevent a disaster from rendering them extinct.

    1. Sounds like an interesting story. Thanks, Craig.

  19. Always something going on there. Some beautiful artwork and crafts – and tempting wine.

    1. Yes indeed. Thanks, Teri

  20. Yay, Canada!
    We’re not just Tim Hortons and Trudeau’s selfies, are we?
    Awesome post, John.

    1. Heck no. You are the birthing place for Whooping Cranes. You also have Molson’s ale. (I know, you don’t drink but I do.)

      1. You can drink for both of us, John.

      2. I can for sure. (I assume you only have one.)

  21. I’ve been saving this post for a time when I could sit and linger over it. I’m so glad I did!

    The Whooping Crane is gorgeous! The tour looks fun. I’d love to travel there to see some Whooping Cranes. Maybe one day eh?
    I’ve done two of those wine and art painting nights. They’re fun, and I did walk away with a fairly decent painting each time.

    I want a T-shirt. Think I’ll go see if I can still get one and help support the cause. Thanks John for the arm-chair tour!

  22. I am impressed. What a wonderful festival and such a worthy endeavor. One thing I’ve learned through these posts is that you live in an extremely active community. Thanks for sharing, John.

    1. 2nd thing – they drink a lot. 😉

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