NEOSHO — A hunter in southwest Missouri saw a rare sight recently — two whooping cranes.
The Missouri Department of Conservation said the hunter was north of Neosho this week when he saw the whooping cranes. The large, endangered birds migrate from Canada to the Gulf Coast in the fall.
The Conservation Department said there are fewer than 500 whooping cranes left in the wild. Their wingspans can exceed 7 feet.
Jeff Cantrell, a conservation education consultant for the department, said he hurried to the scene and found the adult crane and a juvenile with a leg band and radio transmitter. The birds were feeding in a crop field before they took off.
Whooping crane sightings have been rare in Missouri for decades. The birds traditionally make migrating stopovers in Kansas.