Personality and History
Migration Training: As a tiny chick she ran all over the place, but followed the costume and trike really well. She arrived in Wisconsin on July 6, 2006 with the rest of cohort 2. After a few days with no training due to very hot weather, all the birds were slow to get started on July 18. Crane-kid #613 lagged behind all day, struggling to follow the trike. Sometimes she took off into the swamp. Pilot Richard tried to temp her by tossing out grapes from the puppet while taxiing down the runway. By the end of the session, she was following the trike with her other cohort-mates. By July 28, she looked more and more weightless each time she chased behind the ultralight. She will soon take flight!
August 5 was a good training session with all the birds flying. In fact, #613 flew a circuit before the ultralight even revved up! Unlike previous attempts, she made it all the way back to the runway and didn't end up in the marsh for a change. Looking good!
By August 15 all birds in this group were doing short circuits with the trike. And #613, the best flyer in the group, flew with the ultralight for 2 large circles in the air above the training grounds!
Bev says #613 is like a typical "middle child" because she doesn't draw attention to herself and doesn't make trouble.
This chick is Marie's personal favorite. It's because of the success she had with #613 when first letting her out of the indoor pen when she was a tiny chick at Patuxent. "Most chicks are reluctant to come out of the scary doorway," explains Maire, "but she burst out of her door and ran along like crazy after me. She was unsteady on her feet (being only a few days old) but was so excited to be outside that she was running full speed, wings out, weaving from side to side.
Marie says #613 is quite submissive and doesn't stand up for herself when another bird comes up to push her out of the way. "Yet somehow, she is still almost always one of the closest birds to me when I go into the pen. (I would like to think its because she likes me, but more likely it is that I sneak her an extra few corn kernals)."
Oct. 31: On this no-fly day, Marie went to the pen to check the birds: "Most of the birds were peacefully eating and drinking together and peeping contentedly. That is, until 613 picked up a golf ball sized seedpod that 604 wanted. 604 went after it as 613 ran toward a water bucket to clean off her find. Then 606 ran in to grab the seed, but 613 gulped it down too quickly. 606, obviously disgruntled that she didn’t get any, gave 613 a peck on the back. That seemed to restore the peace, and by the time we left the pen the three birds were foraging side by side."
Dec. 15: All birds came out of the pen eager to fly, but the warm, humid air soon made the exercise of flying VERY TIRING. The heat and humidity was too much for crane #613, who gave up and landed. She finished the trip in a box in Charlie's tracking van. It was a rough flight for everyone, but all are safe.
January 12, 2007: Moving day! Chick #607 followed the ultralight planes Jan. 11 when the pilots tried to move the 18 chicks from the layover site to "Chass." She was one of only 6 birds that cooperated! Hooray! Migration complete.
Feb. 2, 2006: Crane 613 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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