Crane Migration Update: March 31, 2006
Today's Report Includes:
Bound: HY2005 Crane-Kids Take Off!
Migration is underway for all 19 of last fall's ultralight-led
chicks! Now that they've gone, calculate this:
"How many *days was the HY2005 flock on the Florida wintering grounds before
departing on their first journey north? What is the average number of days on
the wintering grounds for the 5-year history of the new Eastern flock?"
respond to this Challenge Question, please follow these instructions.
the March 28 departure date for the group of 18, which was
all but one of the crane-kids. For average days in previous
years, see Comparing
on both flocks follows, but in your journals you'll want to note
the weather where the
cranes are coming from and headed to.
Navigation Notions: Challenge Question #6
up with "your" crane on its
own map during the journey north. (We'll do our best to keep
maps updated. Getting every bird's location is a real challenge
for the few trackers on duty.)
In the Eastern flock, it's been
a week of suspense and surprise. Chick #520 and adult #309 flew
out of camp together a full day
before the other 18 crane-kids. But neither #520 nor #309— buddies
now migrating together—have made a successful trip north. Chick
#520 was a good follower on the fall migration, but there's one break
knowledge of the migration route. She missed
64 miles on Day 59 when she and several other birds were
crated and moved from Terrell County to Cook County in Georgia.
And #309 has never been back to Wisconsin because she gets lost.
to wait and wonder: Will these two make it home? Where has #309
been—and why? Find out, and also hear the audio clip with Operation
Migration's Joe Duff's thoughts on crane navigation:
come back and send us your thoughts for. . .
"Do you think #309 and #520 have enough knowledge of the route to get them
home? What factors will aid #309 in making a successful migration back
respond to this question, please follow these instructions.
Notes: Cranes on the Wintering Grounds--and On Migration!
Flock: Tom Stehn's Report
my March 29 aerial survey, there were only 19 cranes I could
not find," says Tom. How many does Tom think are migrating? In
a recent blue crab search, Tom found so few that he said:
"It would be equivalent to you having to walk 4 hours to
then being allowed to
buy only 7 small oatmeal cookies that you would have to share with
your parents." That's bad news for he cranes, and so is one other conditon.
What is it? Tom also said, "The Lobstick cranes are some
of the first birds
reach Wood Buffalo Park before most
other cranes." Where does their name come from? It's all inTom's
on a photo Field
Trip to Aransas!
Lobstick Family (minus one parent) at Aransas NWR
Photo Diane Loyd
Mark Nipper Reports
on their way! Chick #520 left with #309 on March 27.
The rest of the flock took off on March
28. Tracking the cranes, Mark said, "They were moving fast
for a good portion of the day, making it difficult to
it fairly easy for us, however, by staying
in one big group for most of the day. Eighteen whoopers
soaring their way up to Georgia must have been an amazing
lucky enough to have spotted them!" In Georgia,
they split into three groups at roost time.
this writing, we have chicks in
Georgia and Tennessee! It took them 61 days to complete
their fall migration with the ultralights. How long will
it take them to get back to Wisconsin? Will they all make
it safely? The race is on!
of the chicks before they left Florida. Each
chick has its own map to show the journey north!
Which Crane-Kids Wear the PTTs? Discussion of Challenge Question
3 birds from all the HY2005 chicks would you pick to wear satellite
transmitters (PTTs)? What
are your reasons for each pick?”
turns out that TWO transmitters (we goofed) were available for the
ultralight chicks. Those two PTTs went to females #502 and #520.
three transmitters went to the female DAR
(Direct Autumn Release) chicks:
#527, #528, #533. We were impressed with the picks and reasons sent
by Katie and Marcus. They give us
all a lot to think about. Don't miss their answers, and an expert's
is Everything: Discussion of Challenge Question #3
Stehn earlier said that whoopers get rewarded for migrating at the right
time. We asked you to be alert for new information in Tom Stehn’s March
24 report to help with this question:“What
determines the best time for whooping cranes to migrate? Give statements
best time for Whoopers to migrate is determined by experience, and then,
natural selection helps ensure that the birds who made the best choices
survive.” Marcus carefully read Tom’s March 24 report! Seventh
graders from Iselin Middle School listed critical factors such as instinct
All together, these answers are impressive!
See more here:
you see the whooping crane among these sandhill cranes?
Photo Jeff Bahls
Live From the Platte River! Crane Cam
See the amazing crane migration in real time on
the Internet. Sandhills by the thousands are taking off from the
are said to be in the mix. (Sandhill cranes are the non-endangered
cousins of whooping cranes.) What can you see?
the Expert: Send Your Questions!
Once again this year, ornithologist Laura Erickson eagerly awaits your
questions. It's a great opportunity to get answers from an expert!
Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 7, 2006.
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