Cranes Are on the Move!
haven't gotten any confirmed reports of whoopers back in Wisconsin
yet," says Eva, "but it should be only a matter of days
before they start turning up there!" The ultralight-led chicks
are still at their Florida release sites, but DAR
her wintering area in Lake County, FL with male #509 to begin spring
migration on March 6 or 7. She was the first DAR chick in the Class
of 2009 to complete her first journey south — and first '09
chick to begin the journey north in spring!
Ready for Tracking the Cranes
reminds us: "We use satellite transmitters,
gas-powered net guns,
(VHF) radio transmitters,
positioning systems (GPS), navigational satellites, airboats, ATVs,
airplane telemetry, digital mapping, and all kinds of optics
vision scopes to digital cameras. Signals need to
be read, maps need to be made, and data need to be interpreted.
Also, transmitters certainly don’t put themselves on birds’ legs.
The process of joining bird to transmitter is a method that begins
with my favorite part, the capture!
Eva Szyszkoski (Enlarge)
a crane is not easy! We use
a harmless device we call the “net
gun.” It looks like an oversized flashlight. Using
a small gas cartridge as propellant, it fires a web of threads
over the bird
with a startling pop. The “net gun” must be fired from
close range, so crane costumes are worn. We offer cobs of corn
to help regain the trust of older cranes, who by now have grown
wary of the costumes.
(This newly rebuilt trust is
quickly betrayed when nets and biologists fly through the air to
capture the bird.)
captured four birds (#101, #733, #818 and #824) to replace nonworking
or broken transmitters. With our winter captures completed, we can
continue monitoring the whooping crane population and providing
the information that is vital to future management decisions."
nearly a hundred cranes across a dozen states is a titanic job
for the team:
tracking and winter-management team co-leader and ICF
•Dr. Richard Urbanek,
US Fish and Wildlife’s
Senior Project Biologist, tracking team co-leader
ICF tracking team field manager
Photo Eva Szyszkoski. ICF
this an adult or a juvenile? (enlarge)