The Department of Natural Resources is reporting rare sightings of whooping cranes in Rice and Le Sueur counties. Local DNR Informational Officer Scott Roemhildt says the birds likely came from a Wisconsin flock of whooping cranes which had migrated from Florida. The bird is a critically imperiled North American species. There were only 16 whooping cranes left in the world in 1940 when the Wisconsin flock was formed. Roemhildt says anyone who spots the birds in the local area should use caution not to disturb the birds and report the sighting to the DNR. Hunters are asked to be careful this fall as well, so they do not mistake a whooping crane for other migratory waterfowl.