The bugle of an endangered whooping crane echoes across the far reaches of the marsh. Only at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge do North America's tallest birds find an enduring winter stronghold. Here, too, pelicans, herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills, ducks, and geese dine in brackish waters and salt marshes teeming with fishes, blue crabs, and clams. On shore, javelinas, bobcats and deer wander oak woodlands. Alligators peer from still waters of ponds and sloughs. Ringed by tidal marshes and broken by long, narrow sloughs, this 59,000-acres refuge sprawls mostly across the Blackjack penisula, where grasslands, live oaks, and redbay thickets cover deep sandy soils. Storms and waters of the Gulf of Mexico constantly reshape this vital refuge, home to over 390 different bird species.