Festival focus is whooping cranes
The 17 whooping cranes killed in tornadic weather in Florida earlier this month will be discussed by the co-founder of Operation Migration that led the young whoopers to Florida in hopes of establishing a new flock there.
The talk by Joe Duff will be a highlight of the Celebration of Whooping Cranes and Other Birds that opens here tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 23, and continues through Sunday, Feb. 25.
The festival will also feature nature and birding tours by boat and bus, as well as speakers who will be headquartered at the Visitors' Center at The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute at the end of Cotter Street in Port Aransas. A new feature of the festival is tour of the Fennessey Ranch, as well as musical performances by Lucas Miller, the Singing Zoologist, and Jungle Jill and the Jaybirds, plus several new speakers.
Duff is co-founder of Operation Migration that has led young whoopers to Florida in hopes of establishing another flock there. Tornadoes were responsible for the deaths of 17 out of 18 birds that were led to Florida last fall. The lone survivor was spotted thanks to a transmitter attached to its leg. It was seen among a flock of sandhill cranes.
Duff will be the guest of the Rotary Club today, Thursday, Feb. 22, and a featured speaker at the festival at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow. He also will join forces with George Archibald, founder of the International Crane Foundation, for a presentation, "Human Led Migraitons", on Saturday.
The Civic Center, 710 W. Ave. A, will be festival headquarters, and host vendors selling birding and naturerelated items. Admission to the Civic Center is free, and fees are charged for speakers and tours.
For more information, including a schedule of events, and to register for the three- day event, go to the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce- Tourist Bureau Web site, www. portaransas.org, and click on the whooping crane icon at the bottom of the home page.
Sponsors for the festival include The Port of Corpus Christi, Eagle Optics, Flint Hills Resources, Bushnell Outdoor Products, HEB and Swarovski Optik.
Call the Chamber of Commerce office at 800-45-COAST or (361) 749-5919 for more information.