Crane Migration Update: May 5, 2006
Today's Report Includes:
Flock Migration Highlights
2005 ultralight-led crane kids still have not completed their
first journey north. Cranes #516 and #522 remain in Decatur
County, Indiana, where they landed April 4. Young #520 is still
with wayward #309. The two flew back to New York this week,
to the general area where they were before. The team's Sara
Zimorski said, “We're planning to go there on Friday
(May 5) to try and catch them--if they don't move again!” Stay
tuned; we'll let you know what happens.
* DAR crane #532 is home! His radio signals were detected May 4, and then he
was seen (see photo) on a marsh in central Wisconsin. Three of the four HY2005
DAR (Direct autumn Release) whooping cranes have now successfully completed their
first round-trip migration. DAR #533 currently remains at a migration stop in
Barry County, Michigan.
* The nest of #209 and #302 was lost a week ago (see photo in Web report). It
was the last of this spring's five new nests. No whooping cranes in this flock
are incubating (sitting on eggs) at this time.
* Crane #216's injured leg appeared better this week. He still limps badly and
uses his wings for balance when walking, but his leg was capable of bearing very
* The group of 14 HY2005 juveniles that migrated together has split into several
groups in their summer home. The birds are now about one year old, so wandering
#532 is home!
Photo Chris Malachowski
Flock Nears Nesting Grounds: Brian Johns
whoopers continue to move through Saskatchewan, Canada
on their way north to the nesting
grounds. Some parents that hatched chicks last summer
may still have their young with them. Others won't. Why
not? It's time for the young to leave home and go off
on their own! Brian explains what happens as the juveniles
go off alone so the parents can prepare for the next
out your journals and
the weather in crane habitat.
Leaving the Parents: Challenge Question #12
In some species, like humans, the young spend many years with
parents before they’re ready to leave. In other species, like robins
and hummingbirds, it’s just a few weeks. You just read about
whooping cranes in Brian’s report. Now consider this, and
send us your answer!
Challenge Question #12:
skills must a young crane learn from its parents before it's ready for life on
its own? (Start your list from time of hatching. Go through the first year of
life, ending with spring migration.) Which of these skills can YOU already do?
Which will you need more time and experience to learn?”
to this question, please follow these instructions.
Flock in Texas: Tom Stehn Reports
Only one of the seven subadults Tom counted last week has left
on migration this week. Tom spotted something important on the
remaining cranes: their dingy white color indicated feathers
that are frayed, worn out, and in need of replacement. Tom explains
molting. When and where do they grow new feathers? How does it
cause danger for the cranes? Find out here:
Eggs on a Journey
Good news! The two precious eggs collected April 24 from #213 and
nest both hold living chicks. You recall those two eggs were collected
when the parents left the nest unguarded for several hours. Experts
took the eggs to ICF for further incubation. Yesterday (May 4)
the eggs traveled
again. They were shipped to the captive breeding center in Maryland. There,
at Patuxent (say Pa TUX ent) Wildlife
Research Center, we hope these eggs
will hatch chicks. If so, those new chicks will be part
of the next new group for the fall 2006 ultralight-led migration.
|This egg case is used to transport eggs. Foam protects
Photo Mark Nipper, Operation
eggs range in color, with spots/speckles on them for camouflage.
These eggs are decoys. Experts make sure to have
a good match when they replace a real egg that is removed from the
Photo Mark Nipper, Operation
crane-rearing facility at Patuxent
Wildlife Research Cente is off-limits
to the public.
Photo Jane Duden
eggs of #209 and #302 aren’t the only valuable whooping
crane eggs traveling this week. Sara reports, “Along with
those two eggs, we are sending 4 additional eggs from ICF. Canada’s
Calgary Zoo also sent 3 or 4 eggs to Patuxent yesterday (May 4).
There will probably
be a second shipment from ICF and Calgary next week. I believe
the Audubon Species Survival Center will also be sending one egg
But what does it take to ship those eggs? Think about what a very busy
Tom Stehn told us yesterday about the eggs coming from Canada to
the United States: “The day is
settling down, with I hope 4 eggs currently sitting in the Chicago
inspectors en route to clear them on to Baltimore (Patuxent). The stack
of permit forms needed to bring endangered species across the border
is 1/16th of an inch thick. That keeps me busy with lots of associated
deadlines. Another import is scheduled for next week since Calgary's
captive flock is having a boom of a production year.”
Eastern Flock's Next Generation
#501 hatched last year on April 19. We are still waiting for
#601, the first chick this year!
Awaiting those eggs at Patuxent
are Mark Nipper and more experts. Patuxent’s captive whooping
cranes are laying eggs too. “Our
first chick is due on May 7th, and we have eight other eggs that
may potentially hatch that same week! The staff keep finding more eggs
the time,” says Mark.
About 36 eggs are needed to build a cohort for the ultralight
project in 2006. We’ll meet the new chicks next fall.
Please join us when we follow every day of their first journey
teaching them the way.
All these efforts are part of a big plan to bring whooping
cranes back to eastern North America. With all these eggs,
year six of the
Why Do the Subadults Go North? Discussion of Challenge Question
Biologist Tom Stehn wondered why non-breeding cranes don't
just stay Aransas for 2-3 years until they get mates and
are ready to breed.
We asked: "Why do you think ALL the Western whooping
cranes, including subadults, make the risky migration north
Students who responded did some great thinking about a tough
question! Tom adds his thoughts, showing us all that scientists
possible answers when they can’t know for certain. See your thoughts and
Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts!
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Year End Evaluation
Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on MAY 12, 2006.
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