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Whooping Cranes Survive Texas Drought

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HOUSTON (AP) - The endangered whooping cranes that winter on the Texas Gulf Coast survived a historic drought and their numbers have risen.

Biologists had feared the cranes would not have sufficient forage because the drought had made their preferred foods scarce.

During a drought in 2009, biologists counted more than 50 dead birds. This time, they conducted prescribed burns to bring food to the surface. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday some cranes never made it to the coast, and a few left early. But they estimate there are 245 birds in the flock now. They found three dead birds.

They say the flock is so large they can’t count individual birds.

The cranes’ numbers have been rising since a low of 15 in 1941. They are now in Canada.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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