Class of 2010 in Florida: Growing Up
Feb. 25, 2011
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Chassahowitzka NWR

"As for the birds at the Chass pen, they are all doing great!" reports Eva. "Their individual personalities are finally starting to show through enough to distinguish who they are. You can check their bio pages to see my latest comments and photos of the Chass Five: #3-10, 9-10, 15-10, 16-10 and 17-10. (You will find out which one is the troublemaker!) The voices of all the chicks except #9 changing to their adult voices.

"Migration is not on their minds yet, but I have a prediction about the “Wood County Family” of wild-hatched chick W3-10 and her parents (#212 and #419). Now on their wintering grounds in Pasco County, Florida, they will probably be migrating back north in the next couple weeks or so. Maybe they’ll turn up at the Chass pen site before they leave for good, as they have in the past! We’ll see."

ICF tracking field Manager Eva is with the Chass Five this winter. She will track them back to Wisconsin, too!

What has #3-10 found?
Photo Eva Szyszkoski. ICF

St. Marks NWR
Yearlings #925 and #929 have been allowed to hang out with the St. Marks five (#1-10, 5-10, 6-10, 8-10, and 10-10). Bev, who is visiting Brooke there, writes: "Before being at St. Marks, #925 and #929 were part of a yearling cohort that had been together since the summer. But since being here, they have become a pair. It might not be lasting, due to their young age, but they are definitely a pair.

"Every evening they enforce that bond by bowing and dancing. Five sets of youthful eyes gaze curiously upon the dancing. They soon caught on! Now the ungainly, but increasingly graceful chicks join in every evening's dance.

"But as the pair bond increased, the pair's sense of territory also increased. Now #925 and #929 think of the night pen as theirs. Now they are not quite as tolerant of the chicks. Fortunately, the young males are larger than either of the yearlings and still can intimidate them. Our little girls are not quite so lucky. The adults have taken turns chasing the young females around and out of the pen. And Brooke and I have taken turns chasing the adults around and out of the pen!

"Why do we still let the yearling pair stay? The chicks, at least the males, are bonded enough that if we permanently displaced the adults, they would in all likelihood, follow. Chick #1-10 showed us that! Letting them all stay ensures a safe, but not necessarily, peaceful, environment.

Photo Mark Chenoweth

Operation Migration's Brooke Pennypacker leads the winter team that is monitoring the five young cranes at St. Marks NWR.

Click the St. Marks crane cam to visit the wintering crane-kids! (NOTE: The feed is not a streaming, continuous feed. Instead, the image refreshes every few seconds. It is best viewed with Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. Internet Explorer does not behave properly.)