Eastern Flock Report: Last Two Migrate

April 16, 2010
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Matt Reports: "After 20 days of patiently waiting at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, my patience paid off. The last two Whooping Cranes in Florida, #906 and #912, left their St. Marks pen at 11:45 a.m., 22 days after their eight pen-mates had departed. The weather was not favorable for migration. As I started tracking their flight, I found that strong east winds blew the birds far to the west. In fact, although only 40 miles due south of the Georgia border, these two would be blown over 50 miles west into Alabama. Once away from the coast, the winds shifted. The chicks got, quite literally, a second wind as they entered the Cotton State. A stronger south wind shot them north across Montgomery, bypassing all the rush hour traffic that bogged down their tracker (me!). After seven and a half hours of migrating, they settled in for the night in Chilton County, Alabama, 235 miles from St. Marks NWR." Here they come!

Eva tracked or followed progress of the group of 8, with chicks #901, 904, 905, 924 and 929 and 3 older birds (827, 829 and 830) who all left Chass together. Details of their migration stories are on their bio pages. On April 10 Eva also checked on the group of eight St. Mark's birds (908, 910, 911, 914, 915, 918, 925 and 926) who were doing fine and all still together at their Green Lake County, Wisconsin, stopover. Female 907 is traveling alone and currently in Kankakee County, Illinois. "I have a feeling she is going to be one of those wayward females. Richard is still tracking her," said Eva this week.

Check the Finish Line and complete your own Arrival Log.

Photo Matt Strausser
#906 and #912 stop in Chilton County, AL after migrating 235 miles April 14

Photo Eva Szyszkoski
The group of Eight