November 10, 2002
The southwest winds continue, and heavy rain fell overnight. The migration is still stalled in two locations, Hendricks and Morgan Counties, IN, and more eager than ever to get flying and join together again.
Meanwhile, their wild cousins in the main flock are still arriving at their winter home on the Texas Gulf Coast. Aransas NWR biologist Tom Stehn, who is also a leader of the new Eastern flock reintroduction team, gave us the latest count: An aerial census of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas made November 06, 2002 estimated the number of whooping cranes present at 78 adults + 8 young = 86 total. After the summer breeding season, August surveys found 17 chicks surviving after 33 chicks hatched. This makes 173 birds in the flock. If you live in North or South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska or Texas, you may be lucky enough to see wild migrating Whooping cranes. You can help keep track of their progress by reporting any sightings to your nearest U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) office or Aransas NWR at 512.286.3559. And if you live in Hendricks or Morgan Counties in Indiana, hope for better flying conditions tomorrow so you might be able to see the cranes overhead!
The five yearling cranes from last year's ultralight-led migration are still in
Wisconsin. The monitoring team of Richard Urbanek and two ICF interns, Lara Fondow
and Colleen Satyshr, are keeping watch. When the yearlings decide to start their
first migration south on their own (no ultralight for them this year), the trackers
will follow along by ground and air. They will keep notes on the cranes' movements
and the habitat they choose.
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