PORT ARANSAS, Texas — On Friday in Port Aransas, it's the second day of the 25th annual Whooping Crane Festival.
This festival happens every year and this year is especially important because it's their 25th anniversary.
Every year the Coastal Bend welcomes the return of the cranes to their wintering habitat at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
Dale Gawlik, the Endowed Chair for Conservation at The Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, said these birds breed in their natural habitats in Canada, and in the winter, here in South Texas.
As for the population, he said it's looking pretty good when you put into context where the numbers stood.
In the 1940's there was only a handful of Whooping Cranes. Today, there are over 500.
The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge houses most of the cranes when they visit the area.
“We have captive birds, we have people looking at the habitat in the migration area. We’re adding habitat in the wintering area around Aransas," Gawlik said. "We’re looking at protection in the breeding ground. We’ve got one of the most focused sets and tactics for increasing the population of a species that I know of.”
Gawlik added while the population is at a good standing, residents can help by conserving water. These cranes need fresh water to survive.
To learn more about the Whooping Crane click here.
Online sales are sold out. You can purchase tickets at the Port Aransas Civic Center loacted at 710 W Avenue Ln.