Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

July 12, 2001



Flight School Begins at Necedah

Two days after the chicks arrived, the crew brought each group out of the pens and introduced them to their respective training strips. Dan was on the training strip with them, assuring them that the costumes had not changed, the aircraft trike was the same, and only the location was different. Since the young whoopers already were familiar with the trike and the costumes, they adapted quite well.

Each day the crew will rise with the sun and quietly travel to the first site to conduct the training session--if weather permits. Calm days are best. In their first days at the refuge, the cranes will work with the wingless aircraft, following the taxiing trike for the length of the grassy training strip.

The young cranes have developed their primary feathers so at times, one or two will even catch a bit of air and glide for a few feet.

When the cranes at one site finish their training session, the crew travels to the other site to begin the process again with the other cohort.

Later, as the cranes begin to follow the ultralight in flight, the trainers will merge them into larger groups based on the dominance structure until there's one cohesive flock just before migration.

Teacher Tip! Link to Lesson
Merging the cohorts not as easy as it sounds! Find out why, and play a simultation game with our lesson:

Try This! Journaling Question
As their flight feathers and wing muscles develop, the colts (young cranes) will eventually take flight and follow the airborne ultralight over central Wisconsin. Their flight training will continue until the flock departs on fall migration to Florida. The crew is hoping for a mid-October departure.

  • What's YOUR guess for the dfirst-ever journey south?

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

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