continue to move through
Saskatchewan on their way to the nesting grounds.
The weather the last week has been a mix of typical spring weather.
Sun one day, followed by wind, snow and rain; then sun again.
have arrived on the breeding grounds and are beginning to nest. The
first birds to arrive are the experienced breeders from
previous years, while the last birds to arrive are subadults. The
subadults are those birds that are 1 or 2 years of age along with
a few 3 year
olds that have not begun to nest. The birds usually begin nesting
around 5 years of age but can nest as early as age 3.
sightings of 3 cranes are usually a family group. Successful
breeders from last year will have last year's young with them on
migration. This is a photo
of the Allan family group during spring migration. Can you
tell the juvenile from the two adults?
Brian Johns, Canadian Wildlife Services
"Crane Kids" Go Off on Their Own
breeders from last year will have last year's "crane kid" with them
on migration. The young birds
will stay with their parents for most (or all) of the spring migration.
But then they will separate. This separation is often forced
on the young by the parents. Here's how the separation may happen:
Saskatchewan, or sometimes further south, the adults will begin the
process of separation.
This begins with the adults, usually the male, going through
bouts of chasing the young from the group and then tolerating the youngster
for a while before chasing it away again. After several days,
young will get used to being on its own and will eventually separate
permanently from its parents.
- If the young
happens to stay with the parents until they arrive on the breeding
grounds it will be chased
away at that point, just as if it were some other intruding bird
in the territory.
It's Not So Bad
A case of
separation was documented last week. A family group was initially sighted
near Wakaw Lake, Saskatchewan. After a couple of days of feeding and
waiting for the weather
to improve, the adults continued migration. The young crane remained
behind. This is a natural way for the young to leave the family
unit. It is not a cause for concern. The young crane knows where it
was hatched, in this case Wood Buffalo National Park, and it will usually
migration on its own a few days later.
the young may decide that it will stay where it is, and
may spend the summer
of the breeding grounds. These birds usually find other
whooping cranes during fall migration or once they arrive back on
grounds in Texas.
Canadian Wildlife Service
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
North. All Rights Reserved.
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