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Whooping Crane Migration Update: April 3, 2009

Today's Report Includes:

  • Just Three Juveniles Still in Florida >>
  • News: Reports and Photos From the Field >>

    Lesson: Signals from the Sky: About Those PTTs

  • Journal Topic: Number of Days on the Wintering Grounds >>
  • More Endangered Species Math: How Many Left? >>
  • Photo Story: Contest for the Female >>
  • Links: This Week's Crane Resources >>


Photo Sara Zimorski
Tracking the group of four that left Chass, Eva got to their Illinois location April 1. She found that this crane had separated from the others.
Which crane? Use the band colors to identify.

Just Three Juveniles Still in Florida!

Map and Track >>

Rising up and catching their first thermal, juveniles 805, 812, 813, 826, 828, 829 and 830 left St. Marks together on March 30! Trackers got a PTT reading from #813 in Alabama on March 31. Is the whole group still together? Trackers think so, and are racing to catch up with them to see. Still at the Chass release site in Florida are three juveniles: #803, 824, and 827.

March 30, 2009

Hear Bev (with a bad cold) describe the magnificent departure of the "St. Marks 7" on their first journey north. >>

Audio clip thanks to interviewer Mark Chenoweth of Whooper Happenings!

News: Reports and Photos from the Field Lesson: Signals From the Sky: About Those PTTs >>


Video by Joel Jorgenson

Enjoy video of first family to leave Texas, on their March 28 migration stopover!


Photo Sara Zimorski, ICF

Western Flock News>>
Martha Tacha (USFWS) reports two sightings of cranes that have begun migration. Tom Stehn's census flight in Texas is set for next week. What is the latest news? >>

The Finish Line >>

46 Whooping cranes from the Eastern flock are back in Wisconsin! Their migration is way ahead of the larger Western Flock. (It's still too cold to arrive in Canada.)

Eastern Flock News>>
Sara shares the latest news on the Chass juveniles and the Wisconsin arrivals. One especially exciting return is crane #727. (Why? Find out here: >> )

Journal Topic: Number of Days on the Wintering Grounds Calculate and Compare: Days Spent on Wintering Grounds 2001-2009 >> 

Four of the "Chass 7" began migration March 24. The St. Marks 7 all departed together March 30.

  • How many days did the four departed cranes spend on the wintering grounds at Chassahowitzka NWR? (They arrived Jan. 23, 2009.)
  • How many days did the "St. Marks 7" spend on the wintering grounds at St. Marks NWR? (They arrived Jan. 17, 2009.)
  • In the flock's 8-year history, how do these two wintering times compare with other first cranes to depart on spring migration? See Chart >> and answer the questions at the bottom of the chart.

Write your responses in your Journal. >>


More Endangered Species Math: How Many Left? Read Graph >>

Watching over the last remaining wild migratory flock of Whooping cranes in Texas, Tom Stehn has told us that 2008-2009 was the worst winter on record in terms of bird deaths for this flock. He estimates 21 cranes died at Aransas NWR this winter. The combination of mortality at Aransas and the losses during spring, summer and fall resulted in approximately 21 percent of the Central Flyway flock being lost in the last 12 months.

  • If 270 arrived, how many might we expect to come north this spring?

Western Flock Numbers

Crane numbers in this flock have dropped _____ times since the all-time low of _____ birds. (See graph.)
Photo Story: Contest for the Female
Male #307 tried to dance with W601 (the new flock's first and only wild-born bird) in spring 2008. They hung out together for a while.
Photo Sara Zimorski

But soon she had another boyfriend: #310.

Photos Richard Urbanek, ICF

Last April W601 (with #310) made her first nest! She was still too young to lay eggs, but it was good practice. #310 was still with her when they migrated home in March.

What next? In the meantime, male #307 is also back on Necedah NWR. Sara Zimorski told us, "Apparently #307 has been trying (and may have succeeded) to steal W601 away from #310. Last year #307 and W601 were hanging out together before #310 came along so we'll see what happens." (Female #721 was #307's unofficial mate last summer. She migrated with him last fall, but she was found dead in Putnam County, Florida on January 3, 2009.) What do you think will happen next?

This Week's Crane Resources
  • Audio Clip: Bev Describes the Chass 7's Spring Departure >>
  • Video Clip: Whooper Family at Migration Stopover >> (Joel Jorgensen, Nongame Bird Program Manager at NE Game and Parks Commission)
  • Lesson: Signals From the Sky: About Those PTTs >>
  • Math: Number of Days on the Wintering Grounds >>
  • Graph >>
  • Identify Using Band Colors: Quick Color Codes for the Class of 2008 >>
  • Mapping and Record Keeping: Track the Migration >>
  • Meet Student Craniacs: Classrooms in Action >>
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 10, 2009.

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