July 31, 2003
in Full Swing
Sometimes two big, white subadults (211 and 212) from the 2002 ultra-whoopers appear at the training strip. After all, it was THEIR territory first! They may call to the handlers and aircraft, or stand in the middle of the runway, preventing a take-off but they rarely cause problems. If the young chicks don't drive them off, the costumed handlers will. Why don't the pilots want the older ultralight whoopers mixing with the newest ones? Joe answers: "We know from earlier studies that second-year birds will sometimes let us fly with them but we no longer control the flight. If we let the two age groups mix, the younger birds may prefer to follow the more experienced and we could lose our chance to teach them the migration." A white (older) Whooping crane will sometimes fly with the ultralight and chicks for a short distance, too. What a sight!
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