Personality and History
Migration Training: She was going outside for walks with the other oldest chicks at 5 days of age. They get along very well. She came to Wisconsin for flight school on June 27 in cohort one, the 8 oldest chicks. During flight training on July 18, most of the birds were able to fly for a short distance in ground effect, and #605 glided under the ultralight's wing at least 50 feet before losing momentum and returning to earth!
By August 15 she was flying up to 10 minutes in large circles over a big pool at the refuge. Pilot Chris says, "We do large looping circuits back to the pen site so birds can land if they are getting tired. After landing, we have been finding that the birds recover very quickly and are ready for more."
Oct. 23: Cranes scattered everywhere on todays' trip after several days of no flying. While trackers were getting the first 4 chicks who landed in a nearby field back to the pen, the 'location and number unknown' chick magically flew back to the pen by herself. It was #605! "What a smart girl she is!" exclaimed Marie. Indeed, her self-homing behavior really helped the tracking team; it allowed them to go in search of another missing crane on that crazy day.
Oct. 24: She did great once again! This migration leg from the 4th to the 5th Stopover was the best so far! No birds dropped out, or returned, or got crated.
Dec. 16: On today's flight across the border to Florida, #605 seemed to have more energy than the rest. This makes it harder for the other birds, so the pilots let her lead for a while. "She would look back with a tilt to her head every once in a while, checking to see where we were going," said Richard. "If we turned left, she would turn left; we'd turn right and right she would go. So while she was in front, she really wasn’t leading. This tired her after 20 minutes or so, and back she would come and fly off the wing. Later it would start all over again." After more than two hours of flight, they finally landed in Hamilton County, Florida!
January 12, 2007: Moving day! Chick #605 followed the ultralight planes Jan. 11 when the pilots tried to move the 18 chicks from the layover site to "Chass." He was one of only 6 birds that cooperated! Hooray! Migration complete.
Feb. 2, 2006: Crane 605 died when violent storms moved through central Florida during the night, killing all 17 chicks in the pen at Chass. Only #615 somehow managed to escape.
Last updated: 2/4/07
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