Crane Migration Update: April
Today's Report Includes:
up with "your" HY2005 crane on its
own map during the journey north!
a Week for Whoopers!
group of 14 migrating together has come back by themselves in a mere 8
days! Tracker Richard Urbanek sent this news after today's report was
first posted, so we're back with this News
Flash! The group of 14 chicks completed spring migration
as they passed the
southwest corner of Necedah NWR just after noon on April 6. They continued
westward and landed along a creek in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, at
~1340. There they foraged in a plowed cornfield and remained in the area
to roost. WAY TO GO, CRANE KIDS!
news, you'll see
a family from the Western flock, now in South Dakota. You'll also hear
about the wayward #309 and crane-kid #520, who got bullied into
her where they shouldn't be!
By tracking and monitoring the similarities and differences of
the new Eastern flock and the natural Western flock, you are doing
the biologists are doing. Until recently, everything we know about
whooping cranes has been based on the Western flock that migrates
and Canada. As you read the news in today’s report, consider
is the value of tracking two flocks?
Flock: Tom Stehn's Report
a sight to see their huge 7.5-foot white wing span with black
wing tips, working hard to climb but also resting a lot as they
spiraled up. What a privilege it is to be able to watch a bird
start migration. They have so far to go!”
week, Tom was lucky enough to be in the air and see two pairs
begin their spring migration:
Tom wonders: Can you name the 7 states these cranes will fly over
on their way to Canada? Do you live in one of them? What is the
most amazing thing about this 18-year-old banded crane and its
family, seen in Nebraska’s Platte River valley April 1-4?
Tom tells you about them, and makes his prediction for the coming
week. Dig into his fascinating questions about thermals and miles
traveled. Discover it all here, including this week’s numbers
for your departure log:
"Long Reef Family" in South Dakota April 4, 2006
tells you how they got the name Long Reef family, and what
makes the 18-year-old adult and its family so amazing.
See Tom's full
Flock: WCEP Team Reports
420, 309 and 520 on April 1 in Indiana
HY2005 chicks March 31 in Tennessee
HY2005 chicks April 2 in Illinois
Photos Richard Urbanek, USFWS, WCEP
the fifth spring, the
rarest crane in North America are returning
to Wisconsin where they'd been missing for the last century.
Since the flock was started in 2001, it has grown
64 cranes. Seven adult pairs were among the first 18 whooping
cranes to get back. In most cases they’re returning to
the territories they held last year. These birds are now busy
territorial displays and courtship dancing. Will summer 2006
see the flock's very first chicks hatched?
But wait until you hear about the 2005 chicks on their first journey
north. As this report went to the Web, tracker Sara Zimorski sent
astonishing news: “Today [April 6] the group of 14 passed
over Necedah and kept on going. Haven't heard yet where they ended
Then there’s chick #520, being led astray by the wayward
adult #309. Operation Migration pilot Joe Duff spoke for the WCEP
team when he said #309 “bullied #520 into following her
back to Michigan. It seems they are both in the eastern part of
the state close to Lake Huron, and separated from their home at
Necedah NWR by Lake Michigan.”
Surely you can’t stand the suspense until next week’s
report! Keep checking our maps (linked to each crane’s life
story page) for updates when we get the latest news:
older "white birds" are home, which are migrating, and
why is the team so concerned about Crane #318?
Are the Crane-Kids? A Map for Each One
NOTE: Please the drop-down menu to select individual
HY2005 chicks. (Don’t be confused by the map for the selection
“All Cranes;” the data points where the group of 14
lands make it look like only one crane was there.)
Flying Free? Challenge Question #7
You recall that it took 61 days for ultralight planes to lead these youngsters
to Florida last fall. Now the group of 14 migrating together has come back
by themselves in a mere 8 days. Pilot Joe Duff joked, “Trust a whooping
crane to humiliate us mortal pilots on such a grand scale. It's like being
beaten 100 to 0.”
“Why can the Eastern cranes make the journey north so much faster
than their very first journey south?”
• To respond to this Challenge Question, please follow these
Wisconsin: Discussion of Challenge Question #5
"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
and hoorays to Marcus, Maryland home-school 6th grader! He correctly calculated
106 days on the wintering grounds. (They arrived December 13, 2005 and
left March 18, 2006.) Then Marcus added 106 days to the previous stays
of 126 days, 121 days, 117 days and 107 days and divided by 5 to get the
average stay over five years: 115.2 days.
Florida Winters: Challenge Question #8
Marcus asked us a GREAT question with his answer to last week’s
Challenge Question (above). You be the scientist: How would YOU answer
Challenge Question #8:
“ It appears that there is a trend that the number of days on the
wintering grounds [for Eastern flock] is getting shorter. Are there any
ideas on why this may be?”
Notions: Discussion of CQ #6
Last week, we shared the travel tales of crane #309.
As you know, she and her buddy, #520,
left camp together to head north. Neither had yet made a successful migration
back to Wisconsin, so we had to wonder this:
• "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 to Wisconsin?"
After this week's turn of events, you will be even more curious to see
the answer! Sixth grader Marcus had a well-reasoned response. He thought
about the personality, age, and abilities of each crane partner. Read
his comments, and see why ultralight pilot Joe Duff thinks #309 is a bully!
Next Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 14, 2006
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