Chick 11-10 did not ship to Necedah on July 9 with other birds in cohort 2 because of a respiratory illness. He stayed at Maryland's Patuxent WRC (where the chicks hatched) for another 2.5 weeks to recover and get stronger. Soon he was able to go to Wisconsin and join the other chicks in the Class of 2010.
from "Flight School" at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin:
Already a beginning flier when he arrived at Necedah, he quickly became a great follower. But the team is concerned about #11-10's health. He wheezes and gasps after flights, but everyone is carefully watching him and hoping he'll grow out of it.
Geoff calls #11 the little brother, personality-wise, of #4. "Growing up, he may have been a thug who liked to pick on poor "Zoey" (#10-10). But #2-10 helped him grow out of that. He has an bad respiratory "bug," and he wheezes and rasp as hecomes to us. But that doesn’t stop him from flying a lap around the pen with all the other birds and trying to keep up. He wants to fly every bit as much as the next bird, wheeze or no wheeze. He may get tuckered out before everyone else, but we know that he was trying. I call him Whitaker."
On Aug. 30 Trish and Brooke had to lead all the chicks to a spot where they couldn't see or hear the mowing of the grass on the training strip. Chick #11-10 caused Trish some worry on the day the grass on the training strip was cut. She had to walk the birds a long distance away so they wouldn't see or hear the workers and mowers. Our boy #11-10 dawdled on the way out, and even flew back to the pen. Finally he came along, but on the way back he caused trouble again. He and #10-10 (Zoey) would fly short distances and then wait for Trish to catch up. Then #11-10 decided to land on the pen's top net! Trish worried about his leg poking through the netting and getting broken. Alone with the two birds, Trish didn't know what to do. She texted Charlie and Geoff but soon Brooke came. He calmly walked into the pen and put his hands under 11’s feet, gave him a boost, and watched him fly off! No problem!
Chick #11-10 often got trained alone because of his respiratory illness. Geoff said, "The poor fellow honks like a goose." On September 8 Geoff updated: "Last time he flew, he kept up with all his brothers and sisters. He sounds terrible, but he's still hanging in there." But on September 19 he just watched from the runway as the other birds took off. He then flew so far into the marsh that the costumed handlers wore themselves out trying to capture him. Finally they succeeded. They put him in a crate and carried the crate through the water all the way back to the pen. That day he just refused to fly. He was wheezing badly. As far as he’s concerned, classmates #2-10, and even the younger #17-10 can be top dogs, so long as he gets do his own thing.
team tried again September 22 to train him alone and test
his endurance. He took off with pilot Brooke but quickly
in the marsh. Despite a number of attempts, he only flew
far enough to land in the marsh next to the pen. By the time
they got him out he was still wheezing badly so they put
him back with his buddies.
"When it comes time to fly, it is hard to know what will happen with a young chick with a slight wheeze," says pilot Joe Duff. "The team took a chance sending him to Wisconsin and we are still hoping it was the right choice."
September 30: Pilot Joe Duff announced: Number 11 lost his battle for breath and was removed from the project today. A large mass was found in his trachea that was likely to grow. This was the cause of his ongoing respiratory problem. We were hoping against the odds that he would improve, but as the demands of flying increased, his capacity to keep up didn’t. We take small consolation in the fact that #11 will not have to struggle for breath and if the thirteen birds we have worked with all summer had been raised in the wild, only a few would have survived.. .but it is small consolation."
Last updated: 10/2/10
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