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November 19, 2004
Migration Day 41

A Rainy Day to Rest
crane02WCEP_139
Pen site in Meigs County, Tennessee. Photo OM

Today's rain and south winds put a screeching halt to a six-day migration streak. A low pressure system is moving in, and that means clouds. The next flight takes them into north Georgia. They'll still face some high ridges to cross, and the pilots would rather not cross them in the clouds. Luckily, Hiwassee is a great place to rest. The cranes have lovely, mucky marshes in which to forage. Seven ultralight migration crane graduates are also enjoying the marshes in the area. Today the hopeful human team will go in search of a peek at them.

 

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

Western Flock's Migration 90% Complete

Tom Stehn, National whooping Crane coordinator and wildlife biologist at Aransas National wildlife Refuge in Texas, shares news of the Western flock. As of Nov. 16, 158 adults and 28 young had arrived. They include the THIRD set of twins to make it to Aransas since 1997, and one of 5 sets of twins alive in August in Wood Buffalo National Park. (That's the nesting grounds of the Western flock.) The rest of the flock are still migrating. One of the newly arrived families spends each winter in front of the Refuge observation tower at Mustang Lake. Visitors to the refuge will be able to see them all winter! But some chicks have died since the counting surveys in August at the nesting grounds. Tom knows this because adult pairs from two nests that had chicks in August have arrived without chicks. We told you earlier that it was a fantastic nesting season in Canada.


Try This! Journaling Questions

  • The flock might finally pass the 200 mark! Based on the population graph and events of this fall migration, do you predict the Western flock will finally have 200 whoopers at Aransas for the winter? (Tom Stehn's final count happens in December. Then our graph will change.)

  • You see by Heather's Migration Chart that the total trip distance differs each year. In 2001 it was 1164.2 miles. In 2002 it was 1227.8 miles. In 2003 it was 1191.0 miles. What might cause the differences? Looking at the chart, what do you notice about the second half of each migration compared to the first half?


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the

Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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