5,000 Miles, Round-Trip
The migration route is long (about 2,500 miles) but narrow (about 300 miles wide) and extends through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, and through Saskatchewan and Albert in Canada.
Whooping cranes spend their winters along the Gulf coast of Texas at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and nearby private lands. They arrive during October through December and depart for migration to their breeding grounds in northern Canada from mid-March through April. Breeding occurs at Wood Buffalo National Park, and they remain there from May through September. Hence, the wild population is often called the "Aransas-Wood Buffalo population" or "AWBP" mostly referring to their combined wintering and breeding grounds. Fall migration typically occurs during October and November and until the cranes arrive again at their wintering ground. Adult cranes that had a successful breeding season in Canada migrate with their chick(s). Whooping cranes normally lay two eggs but usually only one egg/chick survives. On infrequent occasions the second egg survives and the adult pairs are seen migrating with their "twins". Whooping cranes are territorial at both their breeding and their wintering grounds and they use the same territories year after year.