August 27, 2002
ARGH! Health Checks and Banding
Two world-class crane doctors performed the exams. Dr. Barry Hartup from the International Crane Foundation and Dr. Julie Langenberg from the Wisconsin DNR took blood samples and weighed and examined each crane. They want to make sure each is healthy and ready for the 1200-mile journey south in October. Richard Urbanek of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service does the banding. The colored bands on their legs offer an easy way to identify them through binoculars. Radio transmitters, each programmed with a unique frequency, were placed on each crane. The radio bands let project staff track and monitor the birds' movements to about a 15-mile distance. Each bird also received its USFWS legband. The banding takes about 30 minutes of holding the bird very still, so it's stressful for all. See their banding codes here, and you may be able to identify the cranes in photos. Try it with the photo at the right!
The good news is that all 17 chicks are in good health. After the troubles last year (see link below) with the first ultralight flock, the whole team was very relieved. Still, the next days will be tough. Joe says, "After this ordeal they are suspicious of us for a few days. And now that they have to carry leg bands and radios, they will be reluctant to fly."
Try This! Journaling Questions
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).
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