Western Flock Report: Migration Starts
April 3, 2009
Tom Stehn will do a census flight in Texas next week, and we'll have his report. Meanwhile, he is keeping an eye on a juvenile with a bad limp. This week Martha Tacha (USFWS) is reporting the first sightings the Central Flyway!

Dear Journey North,

The 2:1 (that's 2 adults, 1 chick) Whooping crane family first observed March 27 in south central Nebraska certainly demonstrates that spring Whooping crane migration is underway! These are the only observations I've received in the Flyway, confirmed or otherwise. There are very likely other Whooping cranes in the Flyway, given the strong south winds of a week ago.
March 28: Enjoy this video clip (2:38) of family's migration stopover! It aired on UTube and was taken by Joel Jorgensen, Nongame Bird Program Manager at NE Game and Parks Commission.>>

On February 20, a lone juvenile whooper was observed in the Platte Valley, and was still here at least until March 26. We assume this is the lone juvenile that spent nearly 7 weeks in southern Nebraska last fall, and then moved to central Oklahoma until mid-January. Although "Junior" wintered by itself, it likely joined some some sandhill cranes migrating to the Platte Valley. Although it's a stretch to consider "Junior" part of the push of spring migration, it has begun!

Martha Tacha