Whooping Crane Whooping Crane
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May 12, 2006

Dear Journey North,

The whooping crane migration is almost complete. Only a few stragglers are still in migration.

A Wayward Juvenile in Manitoba
Last week I talked about young cranes separating from their parents. Well, we have another documented case this spring. A single juvenile whooping crane was observed this week just south of Winnipeg, Manitoba. This bird has traveled several hundred kilometers east of the main whooper flyway to Wood Buffalo National Park. I suspect that this young whooper likely followed sandhill cranes after separation from its parents. Sandhill cranes migrating through central Manitoba spend a great deal of time along the Platte River in Nebraska in spring. The Platte River is also an area that whooping cranes use as well. It is likely that this bird separated from its parents somewhere near there and then traveled with sandhills into Manitoba. This bird will likely spend the summer in southern Manitoba before returning to the Platte River in the fall and then continuing migration further south to Texas.

Territories On the Breeding Grounds

Adult Pair Nesting  Two eggs! Incubating

Meanwhile the breeding birds have established territories, built nests, laid their eggs and are currently incubating. Whooping cranes lay their eggs a couple of days apart but they start incubating when the first one is laid. This results in the eggs hatching about 2 days apart. Incubation takes 30 days and is shared by both parents. This means that the first eggs will hatch during the last week of May and the last ones to hatch will be around the second week of June.
I start breeding pair surveys next week and hope to find over 60 nesting pairs.

Have a great summer, and check back in the fall for the results of the
2006 nesting season in Canada!

Brian Johns
Wildlife Biologist
Canadian Wildlife Service
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


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