from the captive breeding "hatchery" at Patuxent WRC in
23 trainers Barb and Bev watched 915 on a remote camera as she put
herself to bed. "She was still motoring around her pen, taking
a couple of drinks from her water jug, frustrating Barb and I that
she wouldn’t settle down. And just like the toddler she is,
after one last drink, she walked under her brood model (adult crane
model) and flopped to a lying position. She fought a valiant battle
against the sandman, but soon she could no longer keep her eyes open
and her head was on the ground. After a couple of nods, she was off
training sessions at Patuxent, little 915 and 916 seem to always be
in tune and totally at ease with each another.
of Flight School in Wisconsin:
She was flown to Wisconsin with Cohort #2 chicks on July
2. Chick 915 and all the others settled into their new pen just
fine! The next day they trained with the trike on the grassy runway
(with their old pal, Robo-crane). The chicks run, hop and flap
but cannot yet fly. However, by the end of July the cohort #2
birds were all flying in ground effect, a few feet off the grassy
strip, and close to gaining good altitude. Chick #915 is a good
reported on August 10 that the mid-aged birds (Cohort 2, at the
West site) are the most independent group. This is obvious during
training, and at the evening roost check, when the handlers stand
in the pen for several moments before they lazily wander over—and
915 is always first to enter the dry pen where the handlers give
each chick a good look to be sure everything's okay.
training in Wisconsin
Geoff, #915 seems like the "good egg" of the bunch.
She's the first out the gate to fly with the ultralight, the first
to come get her meds. She really likes the costume.
Migration South: Chick #915 left Necedah NWR for her first
migration on October 16, 2009. She was one of only five
in the Class of 2009 to behave and follow the ultralights to the migration's
first stopover site! Find day-by-day
news about the flock's migration and read more about #915 below.
27: She didn't do as well today, and turned back instead
of following the ultralight to Stopover #2. She and several others
had to reach Stopover #2 in a crate, traveling by road.
1: Hooray! 915 (and ALL the others!) flew the distance
to Stopover #3. No crates needed!
20: Crane 915 was one of the 16 who flew off on this
exercise day and didn't come back! The 16 flew more than 15 miles
before Richard located and caught up to them. He then turned them
on courseand led them to safe landing at the next planned stopover.
Until today, this has never happened since the pilots began leading
whoopers south in 2001.
13, 2010, Day
82: Migration complete for the "St. Marks 10:"
#906, 908, 910, 911, 912, 914, 915, 918, 925, and 926! Crane
915 flew all but 18 miles of this migration!
Journey North: Eight of the St. Marks juveniles left
at mid-day March 24 on their first journey north!
According to a PTT reading from #908, she (and probably #908,
#914, #918, #925 and #926) reached Shelby County, Alabama—
about 260 miles from the pen! Their
next flight took them an additional 380 miles to Monroe County,
IN, where an observer photo confirmed that they were all still
together. As of March 29 they had flown another 73 miles
to the Fountain County,
east of the Piatt Co., IL stopover
used during their
ultralight-guided journey south last fall. Tracker Eva said a
PTT reading for #915 on March 31 put them in
Monroe County, Wisconsin. On April 1 Sara picked up their signals
in the Necedah area. They successfully completed
2010: Remained on Horicon NWR in Dodge County, Wisconsin
at least through October
15 along with the cranes she had been with all summer and a few
others. She and #908, 911, 918, 925, and 929 returned to the St.
Marks NWR release site from an undetermined location on the morning
of December 29 when the five chicks in the Class of 2010 had already
been there for several days. They continued to return to the pen
site periodically but the "costumes" always drove them away.
The group (except for 925 and 929) were found in Leon County, FL
during a survey flight on January 13. They were not found in a search
of the area by ground on February 9.
2011: Crane #15-09 (#915)) was detected SE of Tallahassee, FL, during
a survey flight on March. 11. She was then with #908, #918, #911
and male #829.
2011: Cranes #15-09 (#915), #11-09 ((#911), and DAR birds 34-09, 38-09 and 27-10 were reported in Marshall County, IL on December 8, and signals from #15-09 and #11-09 were detected at St. Marks NWR in Florida on January 2 and 3. They wandered and found a good territory near Tallahassee in a pasture with a herd of cows, and stayed for the next two months.
2012: Cranes #915 (#15-09) and #911 (#11-09) had completed migration to central Wisconsin by March 20. These 3-year-olds built a nest and began incubatin one egg on April 27. Unfortunated, the eggs disappeared by May 6, likely due to predation. This is not surprising for such young and inexperienced parents, so we wish them better luck next spring with more experience behind them!
#11-09 and 15-09 in Florida Photo Lou Kellenberger
2012: Cranes #15-09 and #11-09 arrived at their Leon County, Florida winter home on November 26. The pair makes their territory on private property there. Each evening they arrive to spend the night and every morning they depart for aday of foraging. Before leaving on their day's adventures, they often chase either the cows or the Canada geese that share their winter territory.
2013: Cranes #11-09 and #15-09 began migration March 22 and arrived back in central Wisconsin on April 3. They soon had a nest together but they abandoned the nest in early May, apparently in response to the hatch of black flies in late April. Their eggs were collected, hatched in incubators, and the young cranes were used in release experiments at sites in eastern Wisconsin where there are fewer black flies. The pair did not nest again this summer.
2013: Cranes #11-09 and #15-09 safely migrated to their wintering territory on a pasture with a pond near Tallahassee, Florida. They dropped in at the St. Marks pen site in February!