the New Flock's Wild-born Chicks: Why?
First Family, June 2006
the new Eastern flock welcomed its first wild-hatched
chicks in June
chicks' parents still wore leg bands that were attached when they were
chicks in 2002. Those bands and their radio signals have helped keep
special cranes. The babies of these wild "ultra-crane" parents
will get leg bands, too.
would experts try to catch these wild babies — as well as
future wild babies — and put bands on their legs before their
family's first migration?
Legal Reasons for Banding the Wild-hatched Babies
chicks are part of an endangered species, but the new flock has special
require that for the first 10 years of the project, Whooping
cranes in the reintroduced Eastern Migratory
Population be distinguishable from the cranes in the endangered natural
population (the Western flock).
Biological Reasons for Banding the Wild-hatched Babies
Identifying and radio tracking each bird in the new flock is necessary
to help experts help the flock. It will help them keep track of and
check on each bird's
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) has been working hard
to establish this population of Whooping cranes since 2001, with
the first ultralight-led migration. Experts say the
scientific data collected via tracking and monitoring will help
WCEP as it works to build and protect
the new flock.
Do the Cranes Think?
Of course, we don't know! But the flock's first parents brought
their chicks for visits to their former "Flight School" training
site. This shows that
the First Family parents
still accept the "costumes"
that taught them their migration route when they
were only 7 months old. The First Family parents still accept being
near the ultralight planes. By their behavior, the parents have shown
things" are okay. This helped
experts safely capture and band the flocks first
wild chicks. The chicks got health exams at
the same time. Experts followed strict rules as
and radio tagged the wild chicks. Still, there
are always risks in handling wild birds that are not
used to being touched. We
hope all goes as well for the wild-born chicks that will
be added to the flock in the future.
Try This! Journaling Question
Do you think the new flock's wild-hatched babies should be captured,
checked, and banded? Or do you think they should be left alone,
the natural flock are left alone? Give two or more reasons why you
North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).