Personality and History
Migration Training: Chick
#520 and #526 did very well in training at the circle pen at the
hatching center in Maryland (Patuxent Wildlife Research Center).
Chick #520 shipped to Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on July 13 with other
cohort 3 (youngest) chicks, ready for flight school. All cohort 3
birds surprised the ultralight pilots by quickly coming out of their
pen on their first day of training after arriving at Necedah NWR.
They all ran after the trike, following closely.
September, #526 and a few others have been struggling
to keep up with
the group, especially since the health check. They've been
flying back to the runway and missing out on over half the
session was an improvement. All took off
with the trike and followed the pilot for a few minutes. However,
#526 and two other chicks soon dropped out. They all returned
to the grass runway. But
when the pilot circled back around in hopes the dropouts
would take off and follow again, it worked! All three became airborne
and followed for about half a circle before breaking off and again
returning the runway.
The team was shocked and sad to find #526 dead in the pen the evening of November 9, day 27 of the migration. They were at the Morgan County, Indiana stopover site. The youngest bird, 526 was a strong, large male. He was a long way from the bottom of the dominance order. Why did he die? The team first thought it might be aggression between birds due to their long stay in one place. That kind of fight results in multiple and obvious injuries. but #526 only had one injury around the left eye; none of the other birds showed any signs of aggression or injury. Maybe a disease or swallowing a foreign object caused a collapse and the other birds pecked at him once he was down. He could have jumped up in the high winds blowing through the pen and hit his head on something hard. No one knows. His carcass was sent to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI for a necropsy to learn the cause of death.
exam showed a puncture through
the left eye and into the head, but no penetration to the
brain. Some bruising was found, and a hemorrhage
the brain that would result from a powerful blow to
the head. The doctors believed the fatal injury was caused
in the pen in a fight with another crane.
Last updated: 1/6/06
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