Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

August 25, 2002
Ten Together


Birds Exit Pen
Photo B. Lishman for


Pilot Brook Pennypacker Prepares for Takeoff
Photo J. Duff for WCEP


Pilots Spend Quality Time With Students After Their Flight--7 minutes! J. Duff for WCEP

The team has something to celebrate! The merging of cohorts has begun. This week, the middle-aged group of four chicks left their original training site (site 1) and joined the six youngest birds (site 4). This new group of ten is at site 4, the Refuge's newest site, built to accommodate this year's much larger flock of chicks. The site was divided with fencing into two areas. This lets the two groups see each other while they get acquainted. They must begin sorting out and re-working their pecking order and dominance structure. Over the next few days the trainers will let them mingle outside of their pen, but the costumed trainers and pilots will be ready to break up any disagreements that arise. The introduction of the two cohorts--which can be tricky--was a success. The ten birds will soon be training behind the ultralight together!

Still at their own site, the first cohort (with the oldest birds) is also making fantastic progress. The oldest four crane chicks are flying for over seven minutes at a time behind the ultralight! (see photos at right)

The next step will be introducing this newly-merged cohort with the oldest birds, who are most advanced in their training and endurance. The goal is for the birds to follow the trikes to Florida as one unified group. They hope to leave on migration in early October. But first---they must endure the stress of pre-migration health checks and getting bands put on their legs. This is a dreaded event for the team. It will start within hours.

Try This! Journaling Question
  • What's your prediction date for when this expanded cohort will merge with the remaining birds?

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

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