Protocol for Operation Migration
1. Conspecific ( means "of the same species") adults will be penned in the aviary and will have access to the sand runs that are perpendicular to the aviary runs used by the chicks. These adults will act as imprinting models. While the chicks are being exposed to the running aircraft, these adults will be locked inside and observed for tolerance to the disturbance.
2. Costumes,designed to disguise the human form, will be supplied by OM and used in conjunction with hand held puppets of adult cranes and recordings of crane calls. Sleeve cuffs or gloves will cover the handler's hands when working with the cranes. When necessary, the medical staff may remove their gloves and work barehanded in order to properly treat or examine the chicks.
3. Absolutely NO TALKING will be tolerated within earshot of the birds.
4. No human avoidance conditioning (HAC) will be attempted prior to the release of these birds. The birds will be handled and examined in costume. If medical or other procedures require the removal of the facemask, the chicks will be hooded or protected from seeing the handlers.
6. The colts will be shielded from observing caretaking activities such as pen cleaning and food/water changes as much as practical.
7. As much as practical the birds will be visually shielded from humanmade structures and equipment. Efforts will be made to disguise the propagation building and surrounding areas in order to provide a more natural environment.
8. The number of handlers will be kept to a minimum during conditioning to reduce the amount of human contact, improve handler safety and to minimize distractions.
9. Recorded wetland sounds will be played inside the aviary to create a natural environment and mask outside human noise.
11. The birds will be socialized in small cohorts based on age and compatibility.
12. The duration and frequency of aircraft training will be based on the response of the chicks. Each training session will be evaluated for success and if the chicks are responding positively, additional training will be curtailed temporarily to limit unnecessary human contact.
14. The aircraft used for this training are registered in Canada but are too large to be considered ultralights in the U.S. Through a cooperative agreement between Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration; we are allowed to operate these aircraft within the U.S. providing we abide by Canadian regulations. With the wing removed to conduct this training they are not capable of flight but still must be operated properly and only by qualified persons.
Bernhard Wessling has provided the project with digital
crane call vocalizers.
Each unit is capable of reproducing up to six adult crane calls that
handlers can use to communicate with the colts. Only pilots and qualified
handlers will use the vocalizers to broadcast any calls other than
the brood/contact call.