Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

November 17, 2003
Day 33

Tracking, Not Traveling
Lara Fondow's new Tracking Van

It's wet, rainy and foggy in Adair County today. The weather is keeping the flight team grounded, But there's plenty of "Whooping" excitement nearby.

Yesterday's report shared how the southward migration is already complete for three of the 20 wild Whooping cranes in the tiny Eastern flock: yearling female cranes #3 and #15 flew to their former pen site at Chassahowitzka NWR on Nov. 16th. Adult crane #1 (2001) returned to Pasco County, FL, near to where he spent last winter. And the others are getting close! Yesterday OM's Heather Ray drove to Hiwassee State Wildlife Area in southeast Tennesssee, equipped with an antenna and radio receiver to pick up signals from the radio transmitters worn by the Eastern flock whoopers. She reports: "By mid-morning I was watching two glowing white Whooping cranes, moving unhurriedly among thousands of smaller gray Sandhill cousins. The beep of the receiver told me that one of them was the female crane #201, but I couldn't detect any signal from the other bird only ten feet away from her." Since all but #6 and #7 from the 2001 flight are accounted for, Heather thought the unidentified crane could be either of those two.

While Heather was observing these two adult whoopers in Tennessee, ICF tracker Lara Fondow was on the scene in Florida to watch yearling females #3 and #15 land at 10:25 a.m. in their former enclosure at the Chassahowitzka NWR. Meet Lara and see her tell you more about tracking the cranes in the new Eastern flock:


Last Fall

This Fall

Map the Migration
Make your own map using the latest migration data

Transmitters and antenna on 2003 snap-on leg bands designed by Dr. Richard Urbanek. The radio antenna is about 9 inches long and weighs 6 grams. It points toward the ground.

Try This! Journaling Question

  • The entire transmitter unit weighs about 60 grams, and half the weight is the battery. The young cranes weigh around 22 pounds.

    1. What percentage of of a crane's weight is the transmitter?
    2. What percentage of your own weight would a transmitter be?

  • Heather thinks the unidentified crane she saw yesterday at Hiwassee was female #7 and NOT #6. Read about their personalities. What's the reason for Heather's prediction?

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

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