the 2008 Whooping Crane Chicks!
the Eastern Flock
Source: #313 and #318
after reaching Florida)
about the naming system, hatch place in
Maryland, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering
site in Florida, and leg-band codes.
*Scroll to bottom for most recent
from the captive breeding "hatchery" at Patuxent WRC
#811 is a full sibling of #810.
Both were collected as eggs from the parents' abandoned nest at Necedah
National Wildlife Refuge and then shipped to Maryland to hatch. Barb
said #811 sounded weak when in the egg. Her peep could barely be heard,
the chick would be too
without help. But then all of a sudden when no one was looking,
#811 hatched out all on her own. She was still weak but gained strength
and soon became
a strong member of
the Class of 2008. She is extremely cute, and loves to take a bath
in the pond. She is a good little swimmer. Enjoys the outdoors and
a sweet personality. She is content to just sit at the edge of
the pond and preen her cute little belly all day long in between
eating juicy little bugs. She was afraid of tall flowers on her outdoor
walks! Said Barb, "Her brother, #810, would at
times take a poke at #11, but #11 had a loner little personality that
kept her away from
She didn’t care so much about the costume, the trike or being
with the other birds in her first weeks. She did what she wanted, when
she wanted, in her own time and on her own terms, so she's not the
best little follower
the Class of 2008.
from flight school in Wisconsin:
delivered to Wisconsin with cohort one on June 25 for flight school. On
the second day in Wisconsin, she was attacked by the aggressive #810. She
was taken to ICF to treat her injuries. Chick #811 recovered
the flock but was moved to the friendlier cohort
#2 to continue her training.
damaged feathers. She was under such physical and mental stress
after being attacked by #810 that the results showed up as
her feathers grew.
Photo Richard van Heuvelen, Operation
seemed quite happy now that she was among friendlier birds of Cohort
two. This group was
introduced to the wing of the aircraft on July 15. But #815
was being closely watched because of a respiratory issue. As August
went on, she had some trouble keeping up due to loss of flight
feathers in the fight with sibling #810 the day after they arrived at
Necedah. If her feather problems affect her ability
to fly or keep up during migration, #811 will have to stay behind
for her own safety. If that happens she will probably be taken back to
her hatching place at Patuxent WRC in Maryland to be a role model for
future whooper chicks. However, 811 followed the trike
well. She just lands early and usually has to be retrieved from the marsh.
WCEP vet Dr. Barry Hartup confirmed that her feathers just can’t
bear the load that they need to for sustained flight. Both the field
and the health team kept monitoring 811’s condition and
progress. She weighed 4.6 kg at the September 3 health check.
9 #811 again could not keep up during the day's training
flight and dropped out on the runway. With the other five
behind the trike, pilot Richard circled
Then, as we they flew past the pen site, #811 became airborne again and
tried to catch up but just couldn't do it.
A New Life for #811
September 10 the team and doctors decided to remove #811 from the Class
2008. Because of poor feather development and being timid from being
too much by the costumes, it’s
not very likely she could survive on her own in the wild. It is
mates, pointed out Joe Duff. Her bloodline is well represented in
the captive flock so she will be
given to a Zoo. "When she molts next year she will likely grow
a crop of perfect feathers," said Joe, "but display birds
are important too. They help
of people and in
a round-about way, help to save the species from extinction."
15, she was left behind when her cohort followed the ultralight over
to join the youngest birds on Moving Day. She will eventually be a
display bird in a zoo. "Until then," said pilot Joe Duff, "the
Team will care
for her and begin the taming
down process. When the rest of her cohort left she didn’t even
come out of the pen. She stayed in the back of the wet pen while the
seem to like long goodbyes."
to "Meet the