|Spring 2017 News||Looking Back 2001-2015|
Nesting Season Begins
When Wisconsin DNR pilot Bev Paulan flew her first aerial survey of the Wisconsin nesting grounds this weekend, she found more than 60 Whooping Cranes back on summer territories. At least ten breeding pairs have begun nest building! It's a busy season for cranes. About 30 more cranes, including the other six surviving juveniles released in autumn, are either still on wintering grounds or enroute north from Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida.
Between reports, the bio page is updated as we get news on the the Class of 2016's progress in making their first migration and homecoming. In the meantime, what's next for cranes of breeding age on the nesting grounds?
Pick Me! Pick Me!
If cranes could talk, they would say: Pick a crane with beautiful plumage. This shows shows the crane has had a good diet. The better nutrition they’ve had, the better they’ve been at getting nutrition—and thus the better they'll be at getting nutrition to their chicks. Pick a crane that's strong and fights for you. A strong and aggressive bird will be able to defend their territory and keep the babies protected and fed.
Does the male pick, or does the female pick? It partly depends on which gender has more members. The choice is tricky for both males and females in a species like Whooping Cranes, where there aren’t a lot of choices because the population is small. You know that two cranes are serious about their choice when they dance together.
It Takes Two
Feeding hungry chicks is a big job for both parents. They must teach the chick what foods to eat and how to hunt. They stay near their chick at all times. the chicks are finally safer from predators once they learn to fly, at around 70-70 days of age. In six months, chicks are the size of their parents. Come fall, they must be ready to migrate hundreds of miles with their parents showing them the way.
The cranes will be busy from now on!