on the Lookout
Everywhere we drive, we run with antennas attached
and receivers tuned. Every trip, even if only to get gas, is regularly
interrupted by detours to check on suspicious beeps. The WECP Tracking
Team has been informed and they have added 733's frequency
to the list. They will include her in the scan as they follow the
migration [of the older Whooping Cranes in the Eastern flock].
We focused most our search in the area where the bird was last seen
and we have back-tracked at least four stops of the route. Now we
will look ahead in case she found some Sandhill cranes and followed
them to Hiwassee [a good wildlife refuge and crane stopover in Tennessee].
The Big Question
we #733 at Hiwassee, the question becomes, do we bring her back
here and make her
or do we leave
until we arrive at that stopover with the other 2007 cranes?
That would depend on how long it takes us to get to Hiawassee.
it difficult to retrieve her, and retrieving her is our ultimate
We have too much invested in this bird to risk a direct release (leaving
her in hopes she'll join other cranes to find her way south).
If she is repatriated (brought back) we know we can get her to
be sure where she will winter. Also, long-term association
with Sandhill cranes
at this stage in life may cause problems when she reaches breeding
If 733 can't be found and recovered, she will automatically
become a direct release bird, which does not mean she will
be a complete
loss. But she dropped out a few times already and there are
gaps in her knowledge of the route. Her chances of getting
back to Necedah and being a viable member of the population are
mates in the Class of 2007, than alone in the wild or with
We could pen her there if we had staff to monitor her, but
leaving her with the wild Sandhills is likely not the answer.
Big Question if #733 is found at Hiwassee State Wildlife
her back to the group? OR Leave her with the