June 12, 2002
The oldest seven chicks of HY2002 take their first flight---INSIDE a plane. The gangly young cranes arrived via private jet at Wisconsin's Necedah National Wildlife Refuge today! A Wisconsin company generously donates their plane for this cause. X-rays were taken of each young bird while still in its container. Then an air-conditioned van drove the group (called a cohort) to their new pen on a secluded marsh. These oldest seven, which arrived today, will now be housed and trained at a part of the Refuge called site 2 (the West site).
The youngest ten chicks will stay at Patuxent for two more weeks. After they arrive, cranes numbered 9 through 13 will be housed and trained at site one. Cranes 14 through 17 will be at Necedah's new site 4. Eventually all of the birds will be merged into one flock in late summer. After that, they'll contnue flight training together. The cohorts are kept apart because their ages mean they'll learn at different rates, and also because they would fight if all were together at once. The crew will give the new arrivals a few days to get used to their surroundings before training starts again.
Normally chicks learn how to migrate from their parents, but that isn't possible
for chicks hatched in captivity. Ultralight airplanes and people in special costumes
will take over that job for these young cranes.
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