Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

October 17, 2002
Day 5 After Take-off

Miserable Day: No Go


Birds excitedly exit the portable pen to take off with the ultralight 10/16


October 13 departure from Necedah NWR Photos OM for WCEP

"Snowing, raining, cold, miserable." Heather knew just the right words to explain why the Whooping Cranes are still in southern Juneau county, waiting for better flying conditions. Meanwhile, the recent cold front has sent lots of other migratory birds south. But strong headwinds are difficult for many other species to fly against, too.

What's happening with the five yearling cranes from last year's first-ever ultralight led migration? None of the five have moved far. The two lone male whooping cranes, Cranes #5 and #6, have stayed where they ended up after their short flights on October 7. Crane #5 is south of Necedah and apparently has not revisited the refuge. Crane #6 remains in Marquette County, moving with sandhill cranes between harvested farm fields (rich with leftover corn) and wetland roosts for the night. The yearling pair #1 and #2 have moved about more than the males, but are now back at Necedah. Crane # 7, a female who summered by herself in another Wisconsin marsh, has not moved at all.

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Try This! Journaling Question

  • Look in your own backyard to see what autumn birds are there. Pay attention to where they spend their time, and how they hold their feathers. Do they stay close to the ground, or in sheltering branches, when it's cold and windy? Do they fluff out? In your journal write about where you would take shelter in bad weather if you were a crane, and if you were a robin. What things would you do to help you stay warm?

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

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