Meet the Flock:
"Getting-to-Know-You" Activities

Photo WCEP

For the first time ever, details about the lives of endangered, now-wild birds are known to us — all because they began life in captivity and have been closely watched since hatching. Each bird is a fascinating individual. Meet the flock by reading each chick's bio page on Journey North. Bio pages are life stories, updated throughout each bird's lifetime. Explore with the "Getting to Know You" activities below. You'll be amazed!

Meet the Chicks 2001-2010
Select Hatch Year
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Star of the Week
Choose a chick as your Star of the Week. Invite students to read the crane's bio-page individually or in small groups. Share responses to the fascinating facts and exciting experiences revealed in the chick's biography. Collect all the bio-pages in a three-ring binder for students to explore during independent reading times. After several weeks, encourage students to create a chart that compares and contrasts the cranes.

"Who Am I?" Research Riddles
Use facts and details from the chick bio-pages to write "Who am I?" riddles to challenge students' research skills. Have them work alone or with a partner to read through the crane biography pages to solve the riddle and then create their own. (Be sure the riddles contain clues to guide students to the right hatch year to aid their research.) Examples:

  • This male from the Class of 2001 was removed from the wild flock and went to live in captivity at age 9 because he kept visiting a captive female on public display at Florida's Homosassa Wildlife State Park.
  • This HY2008 male was the first chick ever removed from the ultralight-led cohort of chicks because he was dangerous to the other chicks.
  • This HY2007 chick dropped out of a flight and was lost for six long days on its first journey south.
  • This male from hatch year 2003 did not make his first successful spring return to Wisconsin until 2007, his fourth year of migrating! Where did he go instead?
  • This hatch-year 2004 male convinced wandering female #309 to migrate back to Wisconsin (instead of New York!) in spring 2008 for the first time in her life. Did they stay paired?
  • This female from HY2001 has always been a loner. (Do you think she will ever raise a chick?)

Craniac Quiz Questions
As kids learn about the cranes, they can write single quiz questions on cards (include the answers) to store in a special container. Draw a card during spare moments (when waiting in line, etc.) to quiz the class. Related activity: Craniac Treasure Hunt

  • What is so unusual (and great!) about the fall 2007 migrations of DAR 627 and Dar 628?
  • Which hatch year of ultralight-led cranes has the most surviving birds?
  • What are two big differences between the new Eastern flock and the original Western flock?

What's Up With Me? Letter from a Crane
Students choose a crane and read its life story on the bio-page. Then they write a letter from their crane's viewpoint to tell what's new in its life, or to sum up big events. Invite them to read letters

Pick a Chick
Each fall, Journey South follows the first migration of the Eastern flock's newest chicks raised to follow the ultralight planes to learn their migration route. Everyone can read about the new chicks and pick one to keep track of during that first journey south. Invite them to make a scrapbook to document and share their chick's story. Students can keep track of "their" chick's lifetime progress by checking back to our bio pages in the future.