Notes from "Flight School" at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin:
Chick #1-10 was flown to Wisconsin for flight school with other Cohort #1 chicks on June 30 when he was 60 days old.
During the training session on June 8 he paid good attention to the ultralight plane "parent," even though two adult whooping cranes joined in the group chasing down the runway with the ultralight. By early July he was getting close to getting a few feet off the ground. On August 3 he and his buddies 2-10 and 3-10 flew around with the ultralight plane in a big circle!
On August 12 he broke the freshwater hose in the tub and water flowed everywhere!
When the two cohorts and all 13 birds mixed together the first few times, even big #1-10 ran away from aggressive female #16-10! Crane #1 is and always was one of the top birds in the pecking order, but both #17 and #17 can be some seriously scary birds.
On September 26 the training session was nearly perfect, with all birds launching with Brooke. But then #1 and #2 broke away from the flight and few back towards the pen. The rest stayed with the trike for more than half an hour before landing right where they began. But #1 has a habit, along with #5-10, and #9-10, of flying a single lap then landing on the runway. That needs to change!
First Migration South, Led by Ultralight Airplane: Chick #1-10 left Necedah NWR on his first migration on October 10, 2010. He was one of seven in the Class of 2010 to take off with Richard's ultralight and one of only four to go the whole 23-mile distance on Day 1. Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #1-10 below.
Oct. 17: Crane #1-10 was a loyal follower of the trike that led him from takeoff. Pilot Joe said, "Numbers 1 and 17 locked onto my wing and the farther we went, the more faithful they became. Brooke and Richard struggled with the rest.
Days: This male is a loyal and dependable follower on every
First Winter, Release Site at St. Marks NWR: The St. Marks Five had been banded and got health checks soon after arrival. The top net was removed from their pen and they were set free to come and go on Dec. 25, 1010!
Crane 1-10 has taken up the job of protecting the feed buckets at the release pen. Brooke, who is watching over the cranes during their "soft release," said #1 is not shy about chasing after visiting crane #915 (15-09) or any of the other visiting adults when they try to get near the the chicks' food. Brooke gave #1-10 a part-time job: When the adults drop in, the costumes walk #1-10 over to guard one feed bucket and they stand in front of the other feed buckets. This means no free meals for any of the older birds. They need to go away and get their own territories and their own food!
Spring 2011, First Unassisted Migration: On March 21, males #1-10 and #8-10 departed on migration along with the two older birds (# 925 and #929) that had been staying at the pen site for much of the winter! Data from their GPS transmitters indicated that they made it to Macon County, Alabama, nearly 200 miles to the north and right on course. GPS data from #1-10 indicates that on the night of March 24th, he had made it to Jackson County, AL in the northeast portion of the state. That all adds up to 586 kilometers. March 26th his signal was picked up in Barron County, Kentucky. The next reading shows him south of Chicago near the Indiana-Illinois border. He completed migration with classmate #8-10 by the night of April 7. They wandered after they returned. They were near Zumbrota (Goodhue County, Minnesota) through at least May 17. PTT readings indicated a roost location on the southern pools of Necedah NWR on the night of May 19. By the night of 21 May 21 they had returned to Minnesota, this time west of Dennison (Rice County). They remained at this location at least through the end of May.
Fall 2011: Crane 1-10 migrated to Greene County, Indiana for the winter.
Spring 2013: Crane #1-10, with #W1-10, was reported back on Necedah NWR on March 23, reported ICF's Eva Szyszkoski.
Last updated: 11/4/13
Back to "Meet the Flock 2010"