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Majestic Critically Endangered Whooping Cranes Spotted Flying Over Chicago

By Justin Breen | December 9, 2016 5:52am
 A whooping cranes flies over Chicago on Wednesday.
A whooping cranes flies over Chicago on Wednesday.
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Facebook/Sam Burckhardt

CHICAGO — Among the tens of thousands of sandhill cranes that flew over Chicago this week, a precious handful of critically endangered whooping cranes also graced the city's skies.

Whooping cranes are the tallest birds in North America. Their population had dropped to around 20 in the 1940s, but through conservation efforts, they number around 600 currently.

A few of the majestic white birds were photographed over Chicago by birders and members of the IL Birders Exchanging Thoughts group.

Whooping cranes can exceed 5 feet in height, and they have a 7½-foot wingspan.

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