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FINAL Whooping Crane Migration Update: May 4, 2012
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Today we celebrate May's exiting events with a new slideshow on nesting season. In Wisconsin the first hatching and 17 nests raise hopes, and nesting soon starts in Canada. The annual cycle continues as this endangered species welcomes the next generation!

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
Whooping crane adult and new chick
Photo: Klaus NIgge
Welcome, Crane Chicks!
News: Arrivals, Nests, Chicks
Eastern Flock: Nests and a Chick in Wisconsin
GREAT news! A Whooping Crane chick hatched in Wisconsin April 30. The chick's name, #W1-12, means first-hatched wild chick of 2012 in the eastern migratory flock.

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) celebrates the hatching as another success in its efforts to reintroduce a wild migratory whooping crane population in eastern North America. Thanks to efforts of this partnership, there are now 106 whooping cranes in the eastern migratory population. Seventeen additional pairs of Whooping cranes are currently incubating eggs in the core reintroduction area of Wisconsin. Look at the nest chart to see when they began incubating, and add 30 days to expected hatching:

Every egg from the world's Whooping cranes is precious. The next generation is coming as the species continues a slow comeback from the brink of extinction


Western Flock: Migration Ends, Nesting Begins
"The species has evolved so that their best chance of producing young and increasing the size of the flock lies in making that 2,500-mile migration and nesting in the highly productive marshes of Canada, where there are many fewer predators than there would be if the cranes remained in Texas to nest,” explains biologist Tom Stehn.

Lea Reports on the Cranes in Canada
"Birds have arrived in Wood Buffalo National Park, and have likely started nesting," reports Lea Craig-Moore of the Canadian Wildlife Service. "There still are several birds along the migration route too. Most are probably subadults, not in a hurry because they aren't yet breeding age. However, even if some are families or breeding pairs, they can finish the flight in just a couple of days and quickly start a nest."

Cranes live long lives, and this flock has been in existence much longer than the new eastern flock that nests in Wisconsin. "Many pairs in the western flock have nested for over 20 years and have contributed over a dozen birds to the population," says Lea. Other pairs have not been as successful, but continue to nest each year.

Read on for more about nesting and raising the next generation:

Aerial view of day-old chick #W1-12 and parents
Photo: Eva Szyszkoski/ICF, with aerial support from Lighthawk
2012's First Chick in WI!
 
Crane #9-11 in Grant County, WI in April
Photo: Linda Halpin
Whose Antenna Broke?
 
Whooping crane adult with chick
Photo: Vickie Henderson
Fast-growing Baby
 
Whooping crane pair and juvenile
Photo: Laura Erickson
Cut Him Some Slack
 
Aerial view of Whooping crane family on Canadian nesting grounds
Photo: Canadian Wildlife Service
Looking for Families
Slideshow: Nesting Season
Whooping cranes are the tallest birds in North America, but they all start out TINY. A newly hatched chick weighs about 100 to 150 grams. Six months later its almost five feet tall!

Nesting season gets underway once a pair of cranes completes the long spring migration to their territory on the summer breeding grounds. Every egg is precious to this endangered species. Crane parents have much to do during nesting season and short northern summer! What happens during a baby crane's first summer? Lea of the Canadian Wildlife Service shows us:

cover of slideshow: Nesting Season

Nesting Season
 
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Migration Map: Two Flocks, Two Fyways
See migration progress of both flocks — ALL the world's migratory Whooping cranes — live on our MapServer as confirmed sightings are reported. Thanks to citizen scientists, ICF tracker Eva Szyszkoski, and Martha Tacha of the USFWS.
Migration Route of Western Migratory Population Migration route of Eastern Migratory Population (EMP) Whooping Crane Map
Western Flock
Migration animation
Eastern Flock
Migration animation
This is the FINAL Whooping Crane Migration Update for Spring 2012.
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