August 25, 2002
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
Birds Exit Pen
Photo B. Lishman for WCEP
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
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
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).
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