At first chick #4-10 got picked on by older female chick #3-10. But before long the older chick stopped it and soon #3-10 and #4-10 lived together in the same outdoor pen. They became training partners and got along just great. She did not travel to Wisconsin for flight school with other Cohort #1 chicks on June 30 because she was healing from a sudden infection. She was not yet well enough to go on July 9 when the cohort #2 chicks made the airplane trip to Necedah NWR. Experts hoped she will get well and come later to be part of the Class of 2010—and she did!
from "Flight School" at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin:
By Aug. 9, she and the other 7 young cranes in Cohort One were flying! They were able to follow the ultralight plane in in large circles around the North Training site. She is easy to identify in the air because her injured leg hangs down, or dangles, a bit.
"She does not like to give up," says Geoff. "And considering the road she took getting here, that’s not surprising. Even with her leg, she’d still fly after the trike to best of her ability. It doesn’t matter to her that one of her legs dangles as she flies. She really wants to do her best. She’ll occasionally drop out during training. But once she catches her breath, she’ll at least give it another one more go before it’s time to go back inside. Her flying’s been getting consistently better; we can always spot her flying right behind the ultralight with her dangling leg."
October 7: The star of the flock has died. Joe Duff announced: "Tonight we lost number 4. She was found during the evening roost check with no obvious signs to tell us what happened. There was no mass of lost feathers that you might expect if aggression was the problem and certainly no predator had made it past the steel wire or the electric fencer. All we know is that one of our best birds is gone on the eve of the migration.
"When the migration starts, all of us will be thinking of #4-10 and wishing we could see her dangling leg off the wing tip one more time. Many of us will fly a fine migration in honor of her."
NOTE: A necropsy showed that $4 had a broken neck. It may have been caused by jumping up and hitting the top net too hard.
Photo Operation Migration
Last updated: 1/17/11
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