Key Timeline Events
Hatch Year 2009

Make your own Timeline as you follow the exciting journey!

Jan. 20 "Chass" Ten complete migration! They were banded Jan. 24 and released from their temporary top-netted acclimation enclosure on January 28.
Jan. 13 St. Marks Ten complete migration! They were banded Jan. 15 and released from the temporary top-netted acclimation enclosure on January 25.
Dec. 29 Migration resumed but the flight had to turn back with no progress. The migration will carry over to January for the third year in a row.
Dec. 20 With bad weather ahead, migration was halted for so the team could take a holiday break until Dec. 29.
Oct. 24 The nine DAR (Direct Autumn Release) Whooping Crane chicks were released this evening on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Biologists from ICF and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are tracking the released DAR cranes using radio telemetry, picking up radio signals emitted from leg transmitters on the birds. The young DAR cranes are currently still on the refuge, but as they begin the migration south, the tracking team will be monitoring their movements.
Oct. 22 The 8 chicks still at Necedah were boxed up and transported to Stopover #1. After a rainy week, all 20 chicks are now together. They are waiting on the weather before they can leave on the second leg of their migration.
Oct. 16 Departure! But only 5 birds followed all the way to Stopover #1 on the first try. In the strangest migration start in the history of the project, "Day One" stretched on for several more days before all 20 chicks AND the weather cooperated to get them all together again on the migration route.
Oct. 15 As expected, rain and wind at Necedah NWR prevented departure. The Class of 2009 went from 21 to 20 birds with the death of #928.
Oct. 14 The arrival of a weather system brings light to heavy precipitation straight through until Oct. 17, so they won't be starting migration yet.
Oct. 13 Direct Autumn Release (DAR) Chicks get their health checks and permanent color-coded legbands in preparation for their release after the ultralight-led chicks are gone on migration.
Oct. 13 Once again, the pilots launched but after they got over the refuge, they found the air too trashy to fly with the birds. Migration departure tomorrow? We hope!
Oct. 12 When today's weather turned too nasty to fly, the team crated the 9 birds in their old pen and transported them (except for #928) to the site of the travel pen, where 11 had already spent the night. All will be in one place and ready for a departure tomorrow—or the first flyable day.
Oct. 11 The team tried again today to fly the chicks to their travel pen on a remote part of the refuge. It was another air rodeo. By end of day, only 11 were at the travel pen (some arriving by van in a box) and the other nine were still at their old familiar pen on the refuge. The weather is
Oct. 10 Migration departure postponed but a flight to a farther place on the refuge will be attempted, with hoped-for departure Oct. 11.
Oct. 9 All 21 few together for the first time. It wasn't migration departure, but a "wild rodeo" training flight after 11 bad-weather, no-training days. The team will try moving the chicks tomorrow to a travel pen set up on a remote part of the refuge. The travel pen is closer to the first migration stopover site in hopes of making the departure flight even shorter for the chicks, who would have benefited from more training closer to the departure.
Sep. 30 All chicks at one pen site! Chicks #903 and 911 (Cohort 1) made the flight over to join all their flockmates at the biggest training site. The divider keeps the oldest birds apart from the others in the pen, but all 21 have been let outside to socialize together.
Sep. 26 Cohort One birds (except for 903 and 911) made the flight to move to the same pen site as the rest of the chicks.
Sep. 20 First night the fence was down at night for Cohorts Two and Three. "I am sure everyone of the handlers will have a sleepless night wondering how all the chicks are getting along," said Bev.
Sep. 10 Expected migration departure date is announced: Oct. 10!
Sep. 9-10 Pre-migration health checks for combined cohorts 2 and 3 and cohort 1
Sep. 5 The middle cohort (2) "moved in" at the pen site of the youngest cohort (3) today in the first step of the process of joining all the chicks into one flock for training and migration. The oldest birds will join them after several more days.
Sep. 1 All birds have fledged, with the oldest birds already strong flyers. This photo shows the oldest birds (cohort 1) on Sep. 3, 2009. Photo by pilot Chris Gullikson.
July 21 Eleven Whooping Crane chicks were transferred from ICF to the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to make up the 2009 Direct Autumn Release (DAR) cohort. The DAR birds are initially isolation reared at ICF and then at the Necedah NWR until the fall when they are released on or near the refuge with older Whooping Cranes and Sandhill Cranes, from whom they will learn the migration route this fall. (One later died, the victim of a predator.)
July 20 All Cohort One birds (the oldest birds) are now flying.
July 10 Cohort Three birds (922, 924, 925, 926, 927, 928, 929, 931) AND #908 arrive in Wisconsin.
July 2 Cohort Two birds (912, 913, 914, 915, 918, 919) arrive in Wisconsin.
June 25 Cohort One birds (901, 903, 904, 905, 906, 907, 908, 910 and 911) arrive in Wisconsin in individual crates aboard a private plane. (Chick #908, recovering from an injury, will come at a later date.)
June 16 All nine birds of cohort one train together in a group with the trike for the first time at Ground School in Maryland. They got along okay!
May 3 Chicks for the 2009 ultralight flock began hatching at Maryland's Patuxent WRC. Chicks start training with the trike (without its wing) when they are just a few days old.

Try This! Journaling Question
  • How do this year's events compare with the same events for last year's chicks in the new Eastern flock? For comparison, see: 2008 Timeline Events.

A costumed pilot drives the trike around the outside of the circle pen with the little chick safely inside."Robo-crane" drops mealworms to encourage the little chick to follow the plane as it drives around the fence in a circle.

Photo H. Ray, WCEP


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).