Bands: Codes and Colors
crane in the new Eastern flock wears leg bands on each leg. When
they're born, they get a temporary colored band with a number. After
they follow the with
the ultralight planes to Florida
on their first journey south, experts put permanent leg bands on
the birds during their health checks. Like names for humans, a set
of color-coded bands identifies each crane
crane has its own code of colors. (You can see them on our crane
Life History pages.)
Detailed histories are kept on each of these endangered birds, and
colors help scientists tell the birds apart.
Colors: Red, White and Green
Zimorski explains the colors used to make up the codes: "Red,
white, and green are the three brightest and most contrasting colors.
tell apart, and are not easily confused with other colors. That's
Urbanek chose them for our color combinations (codes). As a bonus,
each bird has all three colors; if we ever see a bird with only
immediately know a band was lost. Only one bird has lost a band
since the start of this project in 2001."
bands also hold the battery-powered VHF radio transmitter with each bird's
own radio frequency for tracking purposes. A few of the birds will get
yet another band and transmitter (PTT) for
satellite tracking. For more information, see Tracking
This! Journal or Discussion Question
is expensive. What do you think scientists hope to learn by tracking
the Whooping cranes in the new Eastern flock?