chick for the 2006
ultralight flock hatches at Maryland's Patuxent
WRC. Chicks start Ground
School training with the ultralight
at a few days of age.
1 (the oldest group) leaves
Patuxent WRC aboard a private plane and a few hours later arrives at Wisconsin's Necedah National
Wildlife Refuge for "flight school." Cohort 1 includes #601, 602,
604, 605, 606, 607, 608, and 610.
whooping crane chicks, 17-39 days of age, were brought from
Crane Foundation to
Necedah NWR. These special chicks are
being costume/isolation-reared for direct autumn release (DAR) These
fly south by joining older whooping cranes in October if they do
1 trains for the first time with the wing added to the ultralight.
(Sometimes the wing and its shadow are scary for the little chicks.
Soon they get used to it.)
2 chicks (#611, 612, 613, 614 and 615) arrive safely
in Wisconsin aboard a small private plane. They will live at a
pen site apart from the cohort 1 birds for about two months.
training for Cohort 2 begins today in "flight school." This group
includes birds #611-615.
of Cohort three (chicks #618, 619, 620, 622 and 623) is postponed
from July 13 until July 20th. These five youngest chicks, in ground
school in Maryland, simply can't get along with each other yet.
will be the latest
shipment date from Maryland to Wisconsin flight school with chicks
for the ultralight-led group.
1 birds (the oldest eight) can now flap
and fly low behind the
ultralight in ground
chick #602 rose about 15 feet in the air.
3 (chicks #618,
619, 620, 622 and 623) arrives safely on a private plane from
Maryland to Wisconsin! They are getting along with each other
much better. They will live at their own pen site, apart from
the other two cohorts, for several weeks while they learn to
oldest group of birds (cohort 1) is starting to fly! All of the
birds became airborne for at least a moment, with the stronger
length of the runway.
chicks are now flying! Even the last ones in the youngest group
are flying the length of the runway.
8 birds in the oldest group (cohort 1) can fly about 20 minutes.
time to start mixing the 3 groups of chicks into a single flock!
group (cohort 2 birds) are all able to fly well enough to follow
pen site of the youngest birds (cohort 1). Today the two
cohorts were joined. The Cohort 2 birds are penned next to the
birds. The pilots will give these two cohorts several days to work
out their pecking
order (dominance structure). Then they will introduce
birds and all the
chicks will be together in one flock to prepare for migration.
Family brought their two chicks to visit
the training strip! The chicks are now able to fly a good
distance in ground
largest of the flock's two wild-hatched chicks was reported fledged
(the chick cleared 100 m without touching the ground) on 5 September,
75 days after hatching. No confirmed report yet of the smaller
8 oldest birds (cohort 1) flew for 32 minutes with the trike
today, their longest flight yet! The middle and youngest birds
together. "We headed south and across Highway 21 just as three
trucks, several cars, and a train were going by," said pilot
Joe Duff. "They all looked down, but instead of scattering (as
they closed ranks and we crossed the highway in tight formation."
Way to go, birds!
health checks began yesterday and finished today. Birds were weighed
and banded with temporary radio bands. This will help keep track
of any birds that may stray during the migration. (Permanent bands
will be attached after they reach Florida.)
the first good flying day in 7 days, only 5 of the oldest 8 followed
the ultralight plane today when the team wanted to fly them
over to join cohorts 2 and 3. The birds weren't in the mood for flying
with the trike after so many days off. The pilots will
try again when weather
of the 8 chicks from Cohort one followed the ultralight to the
where the other two cohorts have been living together. The target
departure date has been changed from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5 at the soonest
to give more training time after many bad weather, no-training
18 chicks are now together
at one site! A fence separates the oldest 8 from the rest of
the group so they can get used to seeing each other before they
first flight of the combined cohorts, with pilot Chris leading
a long string of birds. The mixed group has not yet established
dominance structure, so
and pilot Brooke picked up the stragglers.
||DAR chick #30-06 has a broken wing.
BEGINS for 18 chicks and their ultralight aircraft leaders!
migration is complete! They landed safely at their layover
#615 missing since yesterday.
is found and reunited with his flock mates. All chicks got health
checks and permanent color-coded leg bands at the holding site
Tastanaki Preserve, Marion County.