Crane Migration Update: February 25, 2005
Welcome to the Spring Season!
They stand nearly five feet tall. Their wingspan is wider than most cars. And they're an endangered species. Right now, the world's 262 migratory whooping cranes (in two flocks) are on their wintering grounds. They have just a few weeks to prepare for their spring migration north. We're glad you can join us!
rare Lobstick twins (named for the family territory) and a parent at
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas last winter.
Again this spring, we will track the migrations of both migratory flocks:
Times for Whooping Cranes: Tom Stehn's
Whooping Crane Population Recovery: How's it Going?
These graphs show growth of (1) the self-sustaining Western flock and (2) the new reintroduced Eastern flock. As Tom Stehn said, endangered whooping cranes are beginning to recover, against tremendous odds. In 2001, the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) began efforts to establish a second migratory flock as further protection against extinction. Those young cranes and planes are the ones you follow with Journey South. The WCEP project has now been underway for 4 years. How is the new Eastern flock progressing? How successful do you think the reintroduction has been so far?
Bobcat Strikes at Florida Wintering Grounds
Lara Fondow, crane tracker on duty at the Eastern flock's Florida wintering grounds, made a sad discovery on Feb. 6. She found the remains of whooping crane #214 approximately 1 mile from the Chassahowitzka winter pen where the youngest flock members stay. This almost-3-year-old female crane had apparently been killed by a bobcat on February 1 or 2.
As a chick (HY2002), crane #214 was eager to work with the ultralight and costumes. What things was this brave bird the only one in the flock to do? Last fall she was the first in the eastern flock to reach the Florida wintering grounds. Finding no whoopers at the pen site, she went off to another area. What happened when she later came back? Find answers in her life story, here:
of Rebuilding an Endangered Species
Everybirdy's Got a Story: Challenge Question #1
Why was the death of Eastern flock female #214 of such concern? What is now the ratio of males to females in the new Eastern flock? What happened to each of the cranes that is no longer in the flock? How many different examples of challenges to survival can you find? What are the challenges in rebuilding an endangered species? Discover for yourself by reading the life stories of the whooping cranes in the tiny new Eastern flock. Find them here:
As you spend time getting to know the flock, make up your own list of "Twenty Questions" to stump your friends. Then send us your answer to:
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question:
an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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