Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

July 6, 2002
Swamp Monster!


Swamp Monster! Photos OM

In 2001 the team invented the Swamp Monster. The monster could scare the birds when they tried to land in the marsh instead of following the aircraft to the landing site. Swamp Monster is actually one of the trainers hiding in the marsh, covered in a camouflage canvas. Once pilots Joe or Brooke or Richard are airborne with the birds, Swamp Monster hides and watches to see if any of the cranes might have plans to land in the marsh. If so, Swamp Monster then rises up from the hiding place with LOUD noise and commotion. This quickly convinces the young birds to stick to the plan of following the plane instead!

This year, Swamp Monster's new job is scaring off yearling cranes from last year's flock of 5 returned whoopers. These birds want to be on the training strip, their old territory. It's natural for them to want to be back, but they need to learn to go off and find their own territory now. This is how it works in the wild, too. If yearlings try to come back where their parents are, the parents drive them off. For now, Swamp Monster does the job.

Try This! Journaling Question
  • How do you imagine the Swamp Monster sounds? Why is this type of noise okay within the strict protocol (rules) for raising and training the cranes?

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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