Crane Migration Update: February 24, 2006
Today's Report Includes:
to the Spring Season!
They stand nearly five feet tall. Their wingspan is wider than most cars. And
they're an endangered species. Hear
them call! Right now, the world's 280 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 a year ago.
Middle: Some of the youngest chicks in the new Eastern
flock, happily wading at their Florida wintering site
at "Chass" (Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge). Photo
by Sara Zimorski
Fondow, crane tracker from ICF, readying her equipment for tracking
the radio-banded new Eastern flock. Photo
by Wayne Kryduba
Ready to Track Whooping Crane Migration
Again this spring, we will track the migrations of both migratory flocks:
about the two flocks at the links above. Then dig in to the season's first
challenge question and answer it in your new download-and-print crane journal (below).
- The young,
new Eastern Flock wintering
in Florida—reintroduced with the help of ultralight aircraft
and a dedicated partnership of pilots and biologists.
- The original,
Flock wintering in Texas—the only natural, wild, self-sustaining
migratory flock in the world.
Click to enlarge this photo. Study the photo and you
will see the clue that gives the answer to . . .
"Are the whooping cranes in this photo part of the Western
flock or the Eastern flock? How can you tell?"
respond to this question, please follow these instructions.
NEW! Official Whooping Crane Spring Migration Journal
Keep track of migration news, habitat conditions, answers to Challenge
Questions, fun facts and your own questions with an official journal.
journal is designed to help you predict, track, and enjoy the
spring whooping crane migration.
on the Wintering Grounds: Let's Go!
report comes to you from the Texas wintering grounds of the
natural flock. Journey North's Jane Duden joins Tom
Stehn for the exciting Whooping Crane Festival! First, Tom
got his work done. He says, "Armed
with a Cessna 172 single-engine high-wing aircraft and a 74-year-old
pilot who has been flying for over 40 years, we go forth once
a week and try to find every whooping crane." How
many are there? Why are they easier to count at their winter
home than their summer home? Tom tells us about one young whooper
who doesn’t know where Aransas is since its parents never
showed it this fabulous wintering grounds. Why? How many chicks
that fledged in Canada have survived their first winter in
Texas? How does Tom know for sure? Why was Tom surprised by
the last juvenile crane to arrive? Find answers here!
many chicks are spending their FIRST winter in Florida? Is
anyone taking care of them? What was new and different
about the 2005 crane chicks' Florida arrival? What makes
enclosure safe from predators? What are two reasons why the
chicks might be taken into the top-netted part of their huge
pen? Is the chicks' island refuge easy or hard to reach?
See photos and captions to answer these questions and more
when you click on Winter
Photo Album. See what the chicks
are up to!
to Lesson: Making
a Map of Crane Habitat
Now all the
cranes are on their wintering grounds. As spring advances, they will
set off for their northern nesting grounds. For the youngest, it will
be their first migration without help from parents (or ultralights!).
Making a map will help you grasp the geography of this migration and
get you ready to compare the journeys north of the two flocks. We give
you the blank maps and instructions. Tuck maps into your journals
when you finish!
We'll give you clues about individual birds and send you on a mission
to meet the flock!
Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on March 10, 2006.
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