There's never a dull moment with the Chass
Five (#3-10, 9-10, 15-10, 16-10 and 17-10).
bio page to find out what problem he had this week.
Another challenge we have is adult #827, who showed up
pen on February 21. Since he was
alone, we let him eat from the feeders at first.
But we quickly realized that he was not going to ‘integrate’ into
our little flock, and none of the chicks were standing
up to him! That meant they were not getting any food
because #827 was defending the feeders. So we started to
hang the feeders up high so he couldn’t eat
the pellets. It works, but now we have to
the pen in costume twice a day to drop the feeders down
chicks eat while we keep
#827 away. When the chicks are finished, we hang the
feeders back up and leave the pen. Then #827 quickly heads
to the food shelter and gobbles up any pellets that the
chicks spilled while they were eating! Click the photo
(right) for more about #827.
tracking field Manager Eva is
with the Chass Five this winter. She will track them back to
How did Eva and her team outwit hungry visitor #827?
Photo Eva Szyszkoski. ICF
Brooke reports that the birds are ramping up their activity level. They are flying
more and flying farther. They are eating less out of the feeders, and finding
more food in the marsh. They are eating, foraging, flying, and roosting as one
unit now. It seems the pre-migration flurry has begun.
#925 and #929 are still hanging out with the St. Marks five (#1-10, 5-10,
8-10, and 10-10). Bev,
who is visiting Brooke there, writes: "Our goal every
winter is to merely keep the chicks alive so that they might migrate northward
on their own in the spring. We patrol endlessly for predators, or sign thereof.
We walk the perimeter fence picking
up broken cable ties so one doesn’t get swallowed accidentally by the
chicks. We monitor the salinity of the ponds in case they get
If it does, we expect a change in behavior and might provide more fresh water
buckets. We keep track of the depth of the ponds, hoping the water on the oyster
bar does not get too shallow, sending them out of the safety of the pen to
As we move into March, the worries then move towards the spring migration.
I know Brooke worries as much about will they go as when will
Will they all go at the same time, or split up like last year?"
We will soon find out!
Migration's Brooke Pennypacker
leads the winter team that is monitoring the five
young cranes at St. Marks NWR.
St. Marks crane cam to visit the wintering crane-kids! (NOTE:
The feed is not a streaming, continuous feed. Instead, the image
every few seconds. It is best viewed with Firefox,
Chrome, or Safari. Internet Explorer does not behave properly.)