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

Back to Meet the Cranes 2014

Crane chick #14-09 as a baby
Image: Operation Migration

Crane # 9-14
Date Hatched May 19, 2014
Gender Female
Left Leg Right Leg
   

Temporary migration leg band: yellow
Backpack transmitter

Personality and Training: Crane chick #9-14 has a little sister (#10-14) in the Class of 2014. She was timid from the start, reluctant to exit her pen and enter the “Big World.” On May 26 Brooke was sure she would be ready, But no! On May 30, still no. It was like she was yelling, “No way, Jose!” When she finally did follow the costumed Brooke out, it was not far and not long before she turned and ran in panic back to the pen. She had no trust. After a number of failed attempts to win her confidence, Brooke said, "I was ready to call Colonel Sanders to come make a pickup." Then Sharon, another team member, offered to try. Costumed up, out into the afternoon heat she went, working her magic on the scared little #9. Using meal worms and patience, she coaxed #9 out the gate, one long, slow, confidence-building step at a time. After a long, calm rest in the nurturing shade of a nearby tree, the little chick trusted Sharon enough to follow her back into her pen. Sharon’s magic held its power. After a couple of days, #9 was right back in the lineup. She handled long walks with no trouble. Next came Flight School in Wisconsin. These images help tell the story:

 

 

 

Meeting the trike takes some comforting by the costumed handler.
Baby Steps
Image: Operation Migration
 
The three youngest chicks in the Class of 2014
Three Youngest
Image: Operation Migration
Chick #9 on July 7
July 7, 2014
Image: Operation Migration
Arrival day in Wisconsin!
Wisconsin Arrival
Image: Tom SChultz
 

 

Exploring in Wisconsin
Exploring in Wisconsin
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
 
The chicks' feathers are changing.
Changing Feathers
Image: Tom Schultz
 
The "girls" flying with the aircraft Sept. 28
Flying Longer
Image: Tom Schultz
 
September 16: Crane #9 was one of three cranes to get the new backpack transmitters used this year for the first time. This new way to track uses new technologies that make batteries last longer. "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.

A few days later, the migration transmitters were attached to their leg bands.

Crane #9 wears the new backpack transmitter, with tracking aerial visible.
Backpack Transmitter
Image: Operation Migration