chick will get a permanent leg band at about 7 months of age.
bird has a 3-digit number that becomes its "name" for its whole
life. The number tells something about the bird. The first digit (5)
stands for the hatch year (2005). The last two digits stand for the
order in which these chicks hatched. So, #501 hatched first and #520
hatched 20th. Gaps in the number system happen when a chick dies,
or if a chick is removed from the flock and raised as a breeding
chicks hatched in Maryland at Patuxent
Wildlife Research Center (PWRC). The valuable eggs hatched in
the care of experts. They were watched over very carefully.
Security gate to
PWRC captive breeding center
Eggs from captive whooping cranes
trainers use crane puppets to help train the new chicks .
Before they know how to fly, an airplane carries the little chicks
to Wisconsin for "flight school." They live at a wildlife refuge with acres
of wetlands. The name of the refuge is Necedah (say Nuh SEE duh)
are released in special pens where they'll be safe as they learn
to fly. Every
have training time, learning to follow the ultralight planes that will teach
them where to go when it's time for their very first migration. They will leave
the refuge and fly to warmer Florida in fall, but they will fly back all by
spring. If all goes as planned, the 2005 chicks will follow this migration
private plane flies the chicks from Maryland to Wisconsin.
chick travels in its own tall box.
are released in a safe pen at Necedah National Wildlife
these chicks will follow ultralight planes on their first migration
to learn the way. They will go to their winter home in Florida. Chassahowitzka
National Wildlife Refuge is the winter home for the whole Eastern flock.
Here they will see older whooping cranes who also migrated from Wisconsin.
Like other members of the new Eastern flock, the 2005 chicks will migrate
back to Wisconsin in the spring. They will do this
every spring for the rest of their lives.
Eastern flock's winter home
view from the sky
Wild and free
crane in the new Eastern flock wears unique color-coded leg bands on
the right leg.
Like names for humans, the banding codes identify each crane
for life. Experts keep detailed histories on each of these endangered
birds, and the banding codes help them tell the birds apart. Every bird
also wears red-over-white radio transmitter bands on the left
leg. The permanent bands with color codes are attached to the
birds' legs after they arrive in Florida and before they are released
to be wild and free. That's also when a few of the birds will get yet
another band and transmitter (PTT)
on the left leg for
satellite tracking. For more information, see Tracking
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational
adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).