Crane Migration Update: March 24, 2006
Today's Report Includes:
Eyes Up! Birds from Both Flocks Are Heading North
We're still waiting for the cranes we'll map: the HY2005 ultralight-led
chicks. Meanwhile, several of the Eastern flock's older birds are already
home in Wisconsin! And in Texas, some of the Western flock have departed
on the 2,500-mile migration to Canada. More news on both flocks follows,
but first get out your journals and use the link below to note the
where the cranes are coming from and headed to:
get set to dig deeper with our next challenge question:
Timing is Everything: Challenge Question #3
time crane expert Tom Stehn asked you how cranes are rewarded
for migrating at the right time. How do cranes “know” the “right” time?
As you read today's update, and particularly Tom Stehn's report
(below), keep alert for new information that will help you
with this question; remember to send us your answers!
“What determines the best time for whooping cranes to migrate? Give statements
to support your answer.”
To respond to this Challenge Question, please follow these instructions.
Where Are the Whoopers of the Eastern Flock?
Every spring we follow the migration of the very same Eastern
ultralight-led cranes we tracked the previous
spring we will make a map
to show the unaided journey north of our 19 young cranes
(who aren't underway
yet). But the Eastern flock now includes 64 whooping cranes.
Where did they spend the winter? And where are they now?
This map answers
And this chart answers the second:
Field Notes: Cranes on the Wintering Grounds--and On Migration!
Flock: Tom Stehn's Report
our March 22 census flight, I only found 163 whooping cranes at
Aransas out of the estimated 215 in the flock,” writes Tom.
But he had a poor day for flying and said, “Under those difficult
viewing conditions, I never can find all the cranes. ” Yet,
what three things were evidence that the migration has begun? Tom
asks, “Why don't the whooping cranes all migrate together
in large flocks?” You'll find out; list 3 advantages to
the cranes migrating in small groups and leaving at different
Also list 2 conditions that make life hard for the Texas cranes
right now. Get out your journals, and dig into Tom's great report:
Week: Come on a Field Trip to Aransas with photos from Ben
Mark Nipper Reports
chicks seem to be sensing that migration time is near. Crane
monitor Mark Nipper earlier said, “Weather has been classic
sunny Florida. Gentle southerly winds and a lot of sun have
made for good migrating weather. More of our adult birds are
on the move, and the chicks continue to get more anxious. They
make pretty regular flights of increasing time, distance, and
altitude.” Mark adds this good news: “Chick #516
has made marked improvement over the last month. He definitely
has the willingness to fly and stay with the group. It is usually
hard to spot him in the air now because he is right in with
older "white" birds seem to migrate before the chicks.
ANSWERS! Craniac Treasure Hunt: Get to Know the Flock
Which chick was not allowed to fly most of the very first
ultralight migration (2001) because of his behavior? Last
which female produced the first egg ever laid by cranes in
the new Eastern flock?
Which 2005 chicks were called Jumblies, Poe, Waldo and Maya?
Last time we gave you our Craniac Treasure Hunt questions.
This time we give
you the answers! Forget the TV show; these are the real SURVIVORS!
Challenge Question #4: Which Crane-Kids Wear the PTTs?
Treasure Hunt gave you a close look at the new Eastern flock, including
the hatch year 2005 cranes making
their first journey
Now you know more about their personalities,
and you're ready for the next challenge. So far, we've kept quiet about
THREE chicks are
wearing satellite transmitters, called
PTTs, besides their radio transmitters. A team of experts must choose
will wear the expensive PTTs.
Think carefully about the 19 ultralight-led
chicks and the 4 DAR (Direct
Autumn Release) chicks. You have only
3 PTTs available. If you were
the scientist, which birds would you most
want extra measures for tracking their
whereabouts? Then send us your answers
Challenge Question #4:
“Which 3 birds from all the HY2005 chicks would you pick to wear satellite
transmitters (PTTs)? What are your reasons
for each pick?”
To respond to this Challenge Question, please follow these
chick #527 last summer
of Challenge Question #2: Why Not in Florida?
Surprising everyone, two of last year's DAR (Direct
Autumn Release) whooping
cranes were the first 2005 chicks to start their journey
north. But DAR
chicks #527 and #528 started out
from Tennessee. We asked: “Why
weren't these chicks in Florida,
like the other hatch year 2005 chicks?”
Each of this week's replies had a different and delightful
answer, and each showed a lot of
thought. There's something to learn from ALL
them. Well done, students! See answers
and our comments here:
Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on March 31, 2006.
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