chick will get a permanent leg band at about 7 months of age.
Each bird that follows the ultralight on its first migration has a 3-digit
number that becomes its "name" for its whole life. The number
tells something about the bird. This year, the first digit (6) stands
for the hatch year (2006). The last two digits stand for the order in
which these chicks hatched. So, #601 hatched first of all the chicks
and #623 hatched 23rd. Gaps in the number system happen when a chick
dies, or if a chick is removed from the flock for its valuable genetics
and raised as a breeding bird.
The chicks hatched in Maryland at Patuxent
Wildlife Research Center (PWRC). It
is a special place where rare birds are bred and raised in captivity.
The valuable eggs hatched in the care of experts. They were watched
over very carefully.
gate to PWRC captive breeding center
from captive whooping cranes
trainers use crane puppets to help train the new chicks .
they know how to fly, an airplane carries the little chicks to Wisconsin
for "flight school." They live at a wildlife refuge with many
acres of wetlands. The name of the refuge is Necedah
(say Nuh SEE duh) National Wildlife Refuge.
are released in special pens where they'll be safe as they learn to
fly. Every day they have training time. They learn to follow the ultralight
planes that will teach them where to go when it's time for their very
first migration. They will leave the refuge and fly to warmer Florida
in fall, with the ultralight planes leading the way. (Chicks hatched
in the wild learn the route by following their parents.)
private plane flies the chicks from Maryland to Wisconsin.
chick travels in its own tall box.
are released in a safe pen at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.
these chicks will follow ultralight planes on their first migration
to learn the way. They will go to their winter home in Florida. Chassahowitzka
National Wildlife Refuge is the winter home for the whole Eastern flock.
Here they will see older whooping cranes who also migrated from Wisconsin.
Like other members of the new Eastern flock, the 2006 chicks will migrate
back to Wisconsin in the spring. They will do this every spring for
the rest of their lives.
Eastern flock's winter home
view from the sky
crane in the new Eastern flock wears unique color-coded leg bands on
the right leg.
Like names for humans, the banding codes identify each crane
for life. Detailed histories are kept on each of these endangered birds,
and the banding codes help scientists tell the birds apart. Every bird
also wears red-over-white radio transmitter bands on the left
leg. The permanent bands with color codes are attached to the
birds' legs after they arrive in Florida and before they are released
to be wild and free. That's also when a few of the birds will get yet
another band and transmitter (PTT)
on the left leg for
satellite tracking. For more information, see Tracking
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational
adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).