A federal wildlife survey has determined that at least 329 endangered whooping cranes spent the winter along the coast of South Texas.
Details are from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service winter survey of whooping cranes, released Tuesday. Another nine birds were discovered this year beyond the primary wintering area, which stretches from the middle of Matagorda Island south to San Jose Island.
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One pair of adult birds was spotted as far north as the Mad Island Marsh Preserve in Matagorda County.
Coordinator Wade Harrell says officials are encouraged that whooping cranes can make jumps across bay systems if the habitat is appropriate.