Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane

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October 20, 2005
Migration Day 7

Down again today.
Photo OM

Standing Down Again Today

The morning was sunny and clear, but strong headwinds would make flying too difficult for the young cranes. The team and crane-kids will stay at stopover #4 in Green County, Wisconsin. Next stop: northern Illinois!

The Eastern flock is still, but their wild cousins are on the move. Two whoopers have already reached their winter home in Texas! A whooping crane injured there last spring never migrated north to Canada, but stayed the summer at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. That makes three whooping cranes at Aransas. A final count will be made in December when they all reach Texas. About 230 cranes are expected---up from just 15 in the early 1940s! Where are the rest of them? Two were seen in North Dakota and one in Montana. Most have been sighted in Saskatchewan, Canada, where this story took place:

A whooping crane banded Green-Red as a juvenile in 1977 was the oldest banded bird in the wild flock. On October 3 Brian Johns saw this 28-year-old female with her mate and juvenile. But she was not staying close together as family groups normally do. Was she ill? What was wrong? On October 8, Brian received a report of only one adult with a juvenile present. On October 18 he was able to get to the site of the report. He found the banded female's remains. Cause of her death is unknown. Now another becomes the oldest banded crane.

•Read more about the banded wild whoopers in Cracking the Code.

Track the Migration

Use our map or make your own with this migration data.

(Click map to enlarge.)

Keep a Migration Journal

Today's Question: How is migration of the wild flock different from that of the crane chicks in the new Eastern flock? How is it alike? Look for clues in today's report.

Record Keeping: Today is the third no-fly day of this migration. Make a tally mark on your migration comparison chart!

History: The wild whooping cranes of the Western flock are no longer banded. Without bands, how can scientists tell which bird is which? You might be surprised at the answer: Who's Calling? Using Voiceprints to Identify Cranes.


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in cooperation with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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