Personality and History
little more nervous than the others in the first couple weeks of
life. The week of May 28, #501, 502, and 503 began training
behind the trike at the hatching center in Maryland. Moved to Wisconsin
on June 15 with the other
five oldest birds. She has a habit in which she always has to wash
off whatever she's found or been given to eat! On her first day of
flight school at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin, she wouldn't leave the
pen. The noise of the approaching engine, though familiar, was too
much for her and she was too scared to leave the pen. Pilot Joe Duff
said, "She pushed against the back fence as the others tentatively
came out the gate. We shut off the engine and spent 10 minutes coaxing
her out. Once the engine was started again, and we began to taxi,
she headed for the protection of the tall grass. Torn between hiding
and following, she ran through the scrub brush, parallel to the runway,
as the trike and the rest of the cohort headed north. Once we reached
the end of the training strip, we stopped and began foraging for
meal worms. Chick 502 headed deeper into
the marsh. Once we had coaxed, cajoled, and corralled #502 back to the pen, we
spent the better part of an hour foraging for treats around the aircraft. The
birds and I poked the propeller, flicked the antenna, and generally kicked the
tires until all the scariness was out of it. For the rest of the day, we replaced
the heavy wooden gates with a wire mesh panel, Afterward, we parked the trike
right outside. This gave the flock a view of the aircraft and lessened its mystique.
This process was repeated the next day, and on the fourth day, #502 was the first
bird out of the pen and first in line to run beside the aircraft."
The pilots and ultralights tried to move the birds on January 9. Crane #502 made it to Chass on the third day of trying, January 11. HOME for the winter!
Spring 2006: Began first spring migration from the "Chass" pen site March 28 with all flock members except 520. This flock of 18 split at roost time on March 28, and fourteen juveniles (501, 502, 503, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, 510, 512, 514, 519, 523, and 524) stayed together. They probably roosted near the confluence of Turner, Crisp and Wilcox Counties in Georgia. They didn't move the next day. On March 30 they resumed migration and roosted in Hamilton County, TN. The next roosting place was March 31 in Spence County, KY; April 1 in Jefferson County, IN; April 2 and 3 in DuPage County, IL; April 4 in McHenry County, IL. (past Chicago). They are determined to get back to Wisconsin! They flew two days in rain, and in stong headwinds on April 4. On April 5 they resumed migration, stopping in Sauk County, WI--just short of Necedah NWR! Tracker Richard Urbanek was monitoring them the morning of April 6 when they took off. They completed spring migration as they passed the SW corner of Necedah NWR just after noon. (They kept going! They landed, foraged, and roosted that night in nearby Trempealeau County, WI.) In the summer she wandered with some flock mates. She later moved to an area of IOWA, along with #503 and #507.
Fall 2006: Began migration from Winnebago County, Iowa on October 31 with #503 and #507. On Nov. 6, less than a week later, they had successfully migrated to Florida! This was the first unassisted fall migration for these birds.
Spring 2007: Began migration from FL on March 18 (with #503 and #507). They were in Tennessee on 20 March (PTT), and in Jackson County, Indiana the next day. They remained there at least through 27 March. A low precision PTT reading for 502 indicated the group may have roosted in southwestern Michigan on April 1. By April 5 they had arrived back in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
#502 paired with male #407 and they spent most
of their time in Meadow Valley Flowage. She died suddenly before the summer ended. On August
20 her completely intact body was found in a few
on August 16 or 17, before the rains came and the
likely dried up. Preliminary necropsy results indicated
that she had died from an epicardial hemorrhage with cause yet
to be determined.
Last updated: 9/17/07
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