chick will get a permanent leg band at about 7 months of
Eastern flock bird--whether ultralight-led, DAR, or wild-born--has
a number that becomes its lifelong "name." The number tells
something about the bird. For DAR birds, the first digits stands
for the order in which these chicks hatched. The last two digits
the hatch year (2005). So, #27-05 was the 27th chick to hatch in
'05. Gaps in the number system happen when a chick dies. Gaps
also happen if a chick is removed from the flock and raised as
a breeding bird.
this year's DAR chicks!
#27-05, #28-05, #32-05, and #33-05.
chicks for this release were raised at ICF’s
new isolation-rearing facility. Three of the eggs came from birds at
ICF, and one egg came from birds at Patuxent. The valuable eggs hatch
in the care of experts. They are watched over
from captive whooping cranes
trainers use crane puppets to help train the new chicks .
Marianne Wellington raised the DAR chicks.
were about one month old, the birds were transferred to the Necedah
NWR. Marianne Wellington is a chick-rearing specialist who wore a costume
and raised the chicks there. They fledged (could fly)
at around 70 days of age. Unlike their cousins for
the ultralight-led migration, the DAR chicks are
allowed to roam freely on the refuge. Marianne
and other costumed "parents" check on them many times during the
day. At night the chicks are safe in a big pen with a pond and a net
over the top. In October, the chicks are set free on the refuge
near the adult whooping cranes in hopes they'll follow them on
the journey south.
as experts hoped, these chicks followed adult cranes leaving
for their winter home in Florida.
National Wildlife Refuge is the winter home for the whole Eastern flock.
Here the DAR chicks will see older whooping cranes who also migrated
Eastern flock's winter home
view from the sky
Wild and free
crane in the new Eastern flock wears unique color-coded leg bands
Like names for humans, the banding codes identify each crane
for life. Experts keep detailed histories on each of these endangered
birds. The banding codes help them tell the birds apart. The DAR chicks
got their permanent bands before they were set free to follow the
older cranes when they leave.
also wears green-over-white radio transmitter bands on
one leg. The three 2005 DAR females got still
another band and transmitter--this one a
satellite tracking. For more information, see Tracking
other members of the new Eastern flock, the 2005 DAR chicks are
epected to migrate back to Wisconsin in the spring, every spring
for the rest of their lives.
year's DAR chicks! #527, #528, #532, and #533.
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational
adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).