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Conserving the Nature of America
Trail camera image of a nesting whooping crane
Whooping cranes lay two eggs, usually rearing only one chick during the breeding season. Photo Courtesy of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Comeback Trail: Whooping Cranes Nesting in Texas

April 16, 2021

For the first time in recent history, two pairs of endangered whooping cranes have been found nesting in Texas. The whooping cranes, part of a non-migratory population introduced in Louisiana, are currently found on private land in Jefferson and Chambers counties. Whooping cranes are one of the rarest birds in North America.

News Release »


Brian Hamlin, a forensics scientist at the Service’s Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, uses a drill to extract DNA samples from a set of antlers from a bull elk that was killed in Crater Lake National Park.
Sandpipers fly over Kachemak Bay in Homer, Alaska, site of a May festival co-hosted by Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Carla Stanley/USFWS

Bird Festivals Are Back!

April 13, 2021

Many bird celebrations at or near national wildlife refuges are set to go again in 2021, after a year of widespread cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure visitor safety, some festivals will be all-virtual, some will be on site, and others will be a mix. In-person events fill up fast, especially with attendance limits, so consider registering ahead if you go. Be safe, wear a mask, and avoid crowding. Some festivals charge a registration or activity fee.

2021 Bird Festival Planner »
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Brian Hamlin, a forensics scientist at the Service’s Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, uses a drill to extract DNA samples from a set of antlers from a bull elk that was killed in Crater Lake National Park.
Brian Hamlin, a forensics scientist at the Service’s Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, uses a drill to extract DNA samples from a set of antlers from a bull elk that was killed in Crater Lake National Park. Credit: Kathy Spengler/USFWS

Teamwork Brings Down Serial Poacher

April 08, 2021

To catch a serial poacher at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, it was going to take teamwork and dedication. Finally, after years of persistence and top-flight forensics work, the team used the evidence to develop the portrait of a poacher who was killing deer and elk within the park. With that evidence, the U.S. Department of Justice was able to secure a guilty plea to a Lacey Act violation for illegally poaching a trophy bull elk from the park.

Portrait of a Poacher »