Why Small Groups?
Q. Why do Whooping cranes migrate in small groups and leave at separate times?
A. "The fact that Whooping cranes
have staggered departures helps the species survive. If they all
flew together and encountered a blizzard, or tornadoes, or if they arrived at the nesting grounds too early and
couldn't find food in the ponds still covered with ice, the entire
flock would be in peril. Even with different departure times, all
the adult birds will need to reach the nesting grounds in time to
nest because the northern summer is so short. For this reason,
that depart from the Texas wintering grounds one or two
weeks later than most will make a more rapid migration north and
will nearly catch up with some of the birds that left first." —Biologist
and Whooping Crane Coordinator Tom Stehn, USFWS, Retired
Courtesy of Laura Erickson
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