Meet the Class of 2014 Whooping Cranes
Hatch-year 2013 of the Eastern Flock

Back to Meet the Cranes 2014

Crane chick #14-07 as a baby
Image: Operation Migration

Crane # 7-14
Date Hatched May 18, 2014
Gender Female
Left Leg Right Leg
   

Temporary migration leg band: orange
Backpack transmitter

Personality and Training: Crane chick #7-14 hatched May 18. She had splayed legs and a toe problem, but it was decided that since cranes in the wild don’t hitchhike with their toes, she was pronounced recovered after having the toes taped for a a while. She went out to see the trike May 25 and started her official ground school training soon after. She was a good follower!

These images help tell her story:

 

 

Circle pen training at Patuxent WRC
Circle Pen Training
Image: Operation Migration
 
Chick #7 on July 7
July 7, 2014
Image: Operation Migration
 
Arrival in Wisconsin
Arrival in Wisconsin!
Image: Tom Schultz
 
Chick #7 on training runway in Wisconsin
Flight School Starts
Image: Tom Schultz
 
Chicks and Costume on training strip
Feeling at Home
Image: Tom Schultz
 
The chicks all ran after the plane as it taxied to the end of the grassy training strip.
Chasing the Plane
Image: Crane Cam
 
Training on July 14
New Aircraft!
Image: Tom Schultz
 
First 2-minute flight!
Now Flying!
Image: Ruth Peterson
 
Crane #7's feathers are changing
Changing Feathers
Image: Tom Schultz
 
The "girls" flying with the aircraft Sept. 28
Flying Longer
Image: Tom Schultz
 
September 16: Crane #7 was one of three cranes to get the new backpack transmitters used this year for the first time. "There are negatives to attaching anything to a free-flying bird, but the risk of injury is low, and there is a lot to be learned," writes Joe Duff.

On September 26, the backpack transmitters were removed from all three birds wearing them: 2-14, 7-14 and 9-14. The decision was made after the team had evidence that the backpack transmitters were inhibiting the cranes' normal flight ability. The next day, all sixcranes flew just great, and for a duration of 20 minutes and 9 seconds. Go cranes!

Crane with backpack transmitter
Backpack Transmitter
Image: Operation Migration
 

When #7 takes a grape from the crane puppet, she still takes the grape tenatively and always tries to wash it off first!

Team member Geoff says #7 and #8 are cut from the same cloth. Both are fairly solitary and independent. They both prefer to be left alone. "Crane #7 will flap her wings at me while #8 just keeps her distance from me. Neither bird likes being locked in the dry pen and will resist every step of the way if anyone tries to get them out of the wet pen."

Heather says #7 has very pretty eyes compared to the others!

Six cranes in training flight with aircraft
Seven Together Again!
Image: Heather Ray
Fall 2014: Ultralight-Guided Migration South October 10 migration departure!
Image: Operation Migration

October 10, 2014: Migration Day 1! The six girls took off for their first migration stop. Crane #7 flew the distance to Stopover #1: four miles.

October 11, 2014: Day 2 Cranes #2, 7, 9 and 10 took off but dismayed the team when they returned to their old White River Marsh training pensite instead of following the plane to Stopover #2. This has never happened in the team's past 13 seasons of leading cranes on migration! All were put in crates and driven to stop #2 in Marquette County, Wisconsin: 14 miles.

October 16, 2014: Day 7 After being grounded by wrong winds or rain for 5 days, the birds were eager to move on. All seven formed up as pilot Richard took off, but the air grew trashy as they rose upward. They must have said NO WAY and turned back to their pen to await a day with better flight conditions! Attempted flight on Oct 16 with all 7 birds taking off