By mid-August, 36-09 had become the most aggressive chick in the group. However, sometimes she got put in her place by #37-09. She was a good flyer by the end of August but picked on the two youngest chicks when their protective buddy was kept apart from them due to a leg injury.
October weather brought sun, wind, rain and snow. The chicks seemed to enjoy testing their wings in the winds. Several days they birds made flights where they were almost out of view flying both to the north and south of their pen site. A couple of times they were out of view for a period of time, and someof the flew over to visit the ultralight chicks in their pen! We couldn't tell which chicks did that because they didn't get banded until Oct. 13. They are building up their flight strength in these final days or weeks before migration.
The nine DAR cranes were released on the evening of October 24 on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Signals from the radio transmitters on the birds' leg bands will help biologists from ICF and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as they track movements of the released DAR cranes now and throughout their migration. Stay tuned!
Notes by Marianne Wellington, ICF. Thank you!
Fall 2009: Dar 36-09 and 37-09 were released together on northeastern Sprague Pool near adults #311 and #312. That night 36-09 flew to roost on Goose Pool. Her radio signals indicated she may have joined with adults #408 and 519. On Oct. 27, DAR 36-09 and 37-09 left Sprague Pool and joined their other DAR flockmates who had gathered at Site 3/ERP. But 36-09 separated from this group on October 29 and began associating with adults #310, W1-06, 412, 101, DAR 27-05, flockmate DAR 42-09 and sandhill cranes. By Nov. 9 she and #42-09 had been roosting off the refuge, likely with older Whooping cranes (the older cranes have non-functional radio transmitters). Will she soon follow the older cranes to learn the migration route, as experts hope she will?
They were still on or near the refuge by Nov. 30, in a large group that included DAR 32-09, 34-09, 35-09, 36-09, 37-09, 40-09, and 41-09. They sometimes separated into 2 or 3 small groups for brief periods. They were almost always associating with various other Sandhill and/or Whooping cranes, particularly #506 and 713.
First Migration, Fall 2009: On Dec. 11 it was snowing, but that's when the birds left on migration! When Eva checked that morning, "there was no sign of any of the 11 cranes that had seemed perfectly content roosting on ice and standing in the brisk winter wind for the last week." Those birds were adult pair #307 and 726, two single males (#506 and #713) and seven of this year's nine DAR chicks: 32-09, 34-09, 35-09, 36-09, 37-09, 40-09 and 41-09. It was too snowy for tracking vehicles to head out, but that evening they received satellite PTT readings on two of the four DAR birds with PTTs. They had reached Winnebago County, Illinois! The birds had moved on by the time trackers got there the next day. Eva said, "When we finally got a reading, we were all surprised to see that they had flown east of Indianapolis, Indiana, 240 miles southeast of their last location and right on track with the main migration route for Sandhill Cranes. I arrived at the location and heard all 11 signals coming from the same area. But I could not see them since it was dark outside." The next morning they made a couple of local movements before traveling only 50 miles to the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, near the Indiana/Kentucky Border. In the three days these birds have been on migration, the first ever migration for the seven chicks, they flew a total of 430 miles.
On January 3 these 7 DAR chicks finally moved from Indiana to Tennessee with the 4 adults. They were near the Hiwassee refuge Monday Jan. 4, but later moved a little further south. Three of those adults split off and continued their migration to Florida where I found them yesterday. "Adult male #506 remains with the chicks, and there’s a good likelihood these birds will remain in this area for the rest of the winter, but we’ll just have to wait and see," said tracker Sara. The seven 2009 DAR chicks and #506 were next in Jefferson County, Kentucky! They moved to Adair County, Kentucky on February 12 or 13. They moved to Adair County, Kentucky on February 12 or 13 and stayed until Feb. 28.
Spring 2010: DAR youngsters #36-09, 32-09, 34-09, 35-09, 37-09, 40-09 and 41-09 were reported back in Jefferson County, KY on March 1 along with adult #506 (hereafter to be known as #6-05). They migrated from there to Muscatatuck NWR, Jackson County, Indiana, on March 5. On March 15 or 16 they separated into two groups. DAR Juveniles #36-09, 34-09, 35-09, and 41-09 remained at Muscatatuck NWR at least until April 1 and were detected in Juneau or Adams County, Wisconsin, during an aerial survey April 5— FIRST SOLO MIGRATION COMPLETE!
Fall 2010: Female 36-09 DAR began migration with #13-07 (formerly #713) from the Mill Bluff State Park area in Wisconsin's Monroe County on November 25 or 26. Her signal was detected at Hiwassee WR, Meigs/Rhea Counties, Tennessee, on the morning of December 14. On Feb. 5, 2011 she was reported at her previous wintering location at Jefferson County, Kentucky but was no longer seen there after the morning of February 6. She was reported at Armstrong Bend, Meigs County, Tennessee, on February 12 and stayed at least through February 14.
Spring 2011: She apparently left her previous wintering location in Jefferson County, Kentucky, on the morning of February 6 and was reported at Meigs County, Tennessee, on February 12. She remained there at least through February 14 but was reported in Jackson County, Indiana, on the evening of March 3. She stayed there at least until March 5. She was detected in flight over Sauk County, Wisconsin, on March 29 and had completed migration by April 3, when she was detected on Necedah NWR. She paired up with "divorced" male #18-03 (formerly known as #318).
Fall 2011: Female 36-09 DAR wintered in Greene County with her new mate #18-03.
Spring 2012: Returned to Necedah NWR with mate #18-03 (formerly #318). They were nesting in April! On the April 26 survey flight, it appeared from photos that the nest was empty. There were no chicks for this pair in summer 2012.
Fall/Winter 2012-2013: She is on the right, photographed in Greene County, Indiana with mate #18-03. They are on the Goode Pond Fish and Wildlife Area consists of over 8,000 acres of prairie and marsh habitat.
Spring 2013: Female #36-09 (DAR) and her mate #18-03 (#318) completed migration March 30. By late April or early May they were reported nesting. The nest failed in early May, along with many other nests, when a black fly outbreak likely caused many of the crane pairs to be tormented off their nests.
Fall 2013: Female #36-09 and mate #18-03 migrated to Greene County, Indiana, where they were last reported on January 26.
Last updated: 2/3/14
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