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Texas To-Dos: February

The Texas coast (Whoop it up with the cranes)

(Photo © Larry Ditto)

Every year, from October through March—and sometimes into April— hundreds of endangered whooping cranes show up to spend the winter on the Texas coast after flying more than 2,500 miles from their summer homes in Canada. The best place to find them? Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, north of Rockport.

Sometimes you can spy a whooper or two in the marsh through a free telescope on the refuge’s observation tower, but for a much better chance to see more than a few birds, book a boat ride out of Rockport or Port Aransas. With a boat, you can get close to watch the birds through binoculars as they hunt for blue crabs in the marshes.

For a weekend celebrating these majestic birds, attend the Whooping Crane Festival February 21-24 in Port Aransas, which offers field trips, an overnight nature photography workshop, guest speakers, and a nature-themed trade show.
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Austwell. Call 361/286-3559.

For recommendations on birding boats, contact the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce (800/242-0071) or the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce (361/749-5919).

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