chick will get a permanent leg band at about 7 months of age .
System for DAR Chicks
Each Eastern flock bird—whether ultralight-led, DAR, or wild-hatched—has
a number that becomes its lifelong "name." The number tells
something about the bird. For DAR birds, the first digits stands for
the order in which these chicks hatched. The last two digits stand for
the hatch year (2006). So, #26-06 was the 26th chick to hatch in 2006.
Gaps in the number system happen when a chick dies. Gaps also happen
if a chick with valuable genetics is removed from the flock and kept
as a breeding bird, or if a bird gets sent to a new home (zoo, etc.)
because of health problems.
the 2006 DAR chicks! #26-06,
# 27-06, #28-06,
The chicks for this direct autumn release were raised at ICF’s
new isolation-rearing facility. The eggs are from birds at ICF or other
places with captive cranes. The valuable eggs hatch in the care of experts.
The eggs and chicks are carefully watched over.
from captive whooping cranes
trainers use crane puppets to help raise the DAR chicks .
Wellington raises the DAR chicks with other helpers.
they were about one month old, the birds were transferred to the Necedah
NWR. Marianne Wellington is a chick-rearing specialist. She wore
a costume and raised the chicks there. They fledge
(fly) at around 70 days of age. Unlike their cousins for the ultralight-led
migration, the DAR chicks are allowed to roam freely on the refuge when
they are a few months old. Marianne and other costumed "parents"
check on them many times during the day. At night the chicks are safe
in a big pen with a pond and a net over the top. In October, the chicks
are set free on the refuge near the adult whooping cranes. If all goes
as planned, they'll follow the older whoopers (or sandhill cranes) on
the journey south. That's how they will first learn their migration
the DAR chicks will follow some adult cranes leaving for the Eastern
flock's winter home in Florida. Most of them stay around Chassahowitzka
National Wildlife Refuge, where they normally spend their first winter.
Here the DAR chicks will see older whooping cranes who also migrated
Eastern flock's winter home
view from the sky
crane in the new Eastern flock wears unique color-coded leg bands on
Like names for humans, the banding codes identify each crane
for life. Experts keep detailed histories on each of these endangered
birds. The DAR chicks get their permanent bands before they are set
free in Wisconsin to follow the older cranes when they leave in October.
Each bird also wears green-over-white radio transmitter bands on one
leg. They can be tracked with those radio frequencies. A few birds will
get still another band and transmitter--this one a
satellite tracking. For more information, see Tracking
other members of the new Eastern flock, the 2006 chicks are expected
to migrate back to Wisconsin in the spring, every spring for the rest
of their lives.
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational
adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).