is Tom doing to help cranes? Hint: It's MUDDY! "I
wish all ofyou could have been here to help," he says. See
am very disappointed I was unable to do a Whooping crane count
this week because of mechanical issues with the census
airplane. I will be grounded for the next few weeks until
the plane can be repaired.
I think something a bit unusual is going on this spring. Prior
to this spring, the general "rule" is that very few
Whooping cranes ever started the migration before March 25th.
just seems to be different. It seems like a considerable number
of whooping cranes have started the migration earlier than normal.
The first whooping crane had departed the Texas coast by February
23rd, a very "early" record. Between March 16 and March
23, another 12 whooping cranes have been reported spread between
Texas and Nebraska in the Central Flyway. However, there are
still a lot of whooping cranes at Aransas, probably more than
can only guess why some of these cranes left Aransas
a bit early. I think
food resources were not very good at Aransas this winter and
spring, so there were no scrumptious meals holding the cranes at
winter home. So some of them are already on their way to Canada.
Can you think of reasons why it might be an advantage
to (1) migrate in small groups and (2) leave at different times?
Tom Stehn,Whooping Crane Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge