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Scientific Research

Flown the coop: Last whooping crane from 50-year-old breeding program leaves Maryland's Patuxent refuge

Flown the coop: Last whooping crane from 50-year-old breeding program leaves Maryland's Patuxent refuge

The squawking bugle-like call of the whooping crane can no longer be heard in the woods of Maryland's Patuxent Research Refuge.

The last of a flock of 75 cranes left the Laurel site on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The departure marks the end of the refuge’s 52-year-old breeding program, which biologists say helped save the still-vulnerable population of massive birds from extinction.

The effort began in the 1960s with a one-winged bird named Canus, at the time one of fewer than 50 whooping cranes alive.

The...

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