1957 3¢ Whooping Cranes
Issue Date: November 22, 1957
City: Corpus Christi, Texas; New York, New York; New Orleans, Louisiana
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Giori Press
Color: Blue, ocher, and green
U.S. #1098 features the whooping crane, a native North American bird that almost became extinct, but has been slowly recovering in population. The stamp was first issued in New York City and Corpus Christi, near a primary natural habitat for the species.
The Whooping Crane Avoids Extinction
Early American explorers reported whooping cranes in 35 U.S. states, with numbers now estimated between 700-1,400. By 1941, only 21 whooping cranes were alive in the United States. One migrating flock was known to exist, as it traveled between Canada and Texas. From these 15 birds (the other six were non-migrating residents of Louisiana), the species has started to rebuild its numbers.
In 1937, whooping crane wintering grounds were protected in Texas by the creation of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Located on the East Coast of Texas, north of Corpus Christi, the safety provided by Aransas helped the migratory population grow from 14 to over 200. Every living whooping crane in America today is descended from the 15 found in Texas in 1941.
Whooping cranes grow up to five feet, making them one of the tallest birds in North America. Their feathers are white, with black markings on the wing tips visible only when the wings are extended. Whooping cranes were named after their loud, distinctive cries, and for their elaborate courtship rituals. They typically lay two eggs, but raise only one chick at a time. This practice has led to biologists collecting the second egg and raising the chick in captivity – eventually to be re-introduced into the wild.