September 4, 2002
Feeling Betrayed--But Getting Over It
From Operation Migration headquarters in Canada, Heather Ray reports the latest:
"All cranes survived the health check this year (big sigh of relief) but it
is still a lengthy procedure that they find most unpleasant. This past week has seen
the pilots and handlers trying to regain the trust of the young cranes following
the health check and banding procedure."
Dan Uses Puppet to Feed Smelt Treats
Photo J. Duff for WCEP
The Recently Joined Group of 10 Birds, Now at
Site 4. Taken 8/30/02. J. Duff for WCEP
Today was the first time the cranes would fly with the aircraft again. Since they
were banded, the oldest birds are flying only 3 or 4 minutes instead of 7, with a
couple of birds dropping out each time. Why do you think this happened?
Team leader Joe Duff says more: "Over the summer the birds have learned to
trust us; we feed them treats and take them flying but recently we had to grab them
[for banding]. We spend many hours with them to win back their confidence and eventually
they take to the air and follow the aircraft again." One thing they did to regain
trust was to feed them lots of tiny fish called smelt. (See photo) Read more here:
Joe said, "Between now and the start of migration we will fly as often as
possible to exercise the birds. We will increase their endurance until the season
changes and it is time to head south."
Try This! Journaling Questions
- Whooping cranes are wild but fragile creatures. Team leader Joe Duff explains:
"It's hard to balance what we need to get them trained with what they need to
keep their wildness." What do you think he means? Think about examples and add
them to your journal page in the next weeks.
- There are some benefits and some problems with health checks and banding. For
example, it's VERY stressful for the birds to be captured and held. But the states
through which the birds fly want to be sure they are healthy. Banding is a hard process
on the birds, but bands help trackers find any birds that stray, and can identify
individual birds and their fate. As we learn more about the birds, do you think some
of the benefits and problems may change? Do you think the procedures might change
over the next few years? Explain your prediction.
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).
Copyright 2002 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to our feedback form