Personality and History
Migration Training: During
their first weeks, 519, 521, 522, and 523 trained well together at
the circle pen. "These guys are hilarious," reported trainer
Mark Nipper at Patuxent WRC. "They run in a tight little bunch
in the circle. They are constantly knocking into each other and a
couple of them really compete to be the closest to the trike. After
a few minutes, they will start getting tired and hot, or just lazy,
and break up a little."
Here is more news about Chick #523's first migration:
13 (Oct. 26) #523 got tired, dropped out, and had to
be crated and moved the final 6 miles to the pen in LaSalle
IL. On Nov.
30 he wouldn't follow the ultralight. He kept turning
back to Hiwassee with a small group of other cranes who
didn't want to leave the nice marshes at Hiwassee. He was
put in a crate and driven to the next stopover site.
The pilots and ultralights tried to move the birds on January 9, but only #508 made it on this day. On the second day of trying (January 10), six more made it. The pilots tried again on January 11 to get the remaining cranes over to Chass. Crane #523 and all the rest of the birds EXCEPT #516 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., but spent the summer in the core reintroduction area.)
Fall 2006: Making their first all migration after learning from the ultralights, #523 and #524 left Necedah NWR, undetected, on October 22. They were found north of the Halpata pen site (site of their layover last year) in Marion County, FL Nov. 22! They were in Levy County through Jan. 10 and not with sandhill cranes. When next checked on Jan. 13, the signal of 523 was detected staying in one place but the signal of 524 was no longer detected.
Spring 2007: Crane 523 remained in Levy County, where he was seen alone on March 1 during an aerial survey. He was still there April 7. His weak radio signal was detected during an aerial survey of the area on April 21 and April 29 but the crane was not seen. A ground search was conducted and his remains were found May 4, 2007, in Big Wolf Arbor, Levy County, Florida. He had been dead for several weeks, likely the victim of an alligator attack.
Last updated: 5/7/07
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