Press Release, USFWS, November 22, 2004
of the Ultralight-led Cranes, Wild Whooping Crane Completes
The first crane of eastern North America’s new migratory
flock of wild whooping
cranes has arrived at its winter home in Florida. At the same time, the younger,
ultralight-led cranes continued making progress on their first southward migration.
are part of an effort by the Whooping
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) to establish
a self-sustaining wild, migrating flock of whooping cranes in eastern North
Biologists tracking the migrating whoopers found crane #214 from the Class
2002 at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge on November 16. She was
the first of the wild birds bird to reach Florida.
A New Techniqe Starts With Crane #418
now wild cranes were joined by a new traveling companion—crane #418,
the first young whooper to be conditioned behind
the ultralight aircraft but introduced among older birds to learn
the migration route. Crane #418 was not able to complete the
necessary conditioning to begin the ultralight-led migration on October
This preliminary effort in 2004 will help prepare for supplemental
in subsequent years. For more information about the supplemental release
technique, go to the WCEP website.
One Ultra-crane Dies in South Carolina
The five whooping cranes from the
Class of 2003 that spent the summer in
Michigan are also on their way south for their first unassisted
fall migration. Four of them made history once again when
they detoured through South Carolina, spending some time on Cape
Romain NWR, along the Atlantic coast, before heading north into
North Carolina. This is the
first time whooping cranes have been in South Carolina
in more than a century. The remains
of one of the four, number 305 [crane #5 from hatch year 2003], were
found on Cape Romain NWR on Nov. 16. An investigation
into the cause of death is ongoing.
History of the Ultralight-led Migrations
In 2001, project
partner Operation Migration’s pilots led the
first whooping crane chicks, conditioned to follow their ultralight
surrogates south from Necedah NWR to
Chassahowitzka NWR on
Gulf Coast. In 2002, WCEP biologists and pilots conditioned
and guided a second group of juvenile cranes to Chassahowitzka NWR.
In the fall of 2003, WCEP conducted its third ultralight-led migration.
Those cranes have begun returning to their summer home in central Wisconsin,
and there are now 35 whooping cranes in the wild in eastern North America.
WCEP asks anyone who encounters a whooping crane in the wild to please give
them the respect and distance they need.
not approach birds on foot within 600 feet.
to remain in your vehicle.
not approach in a vehicle within 600 feet or, if on a public
within 300 feet.
remain concealed and do not speak loudly enough that the birds
can hear you.
do not trespass on private property in an attempt to view
The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership,
an international coalition of public and private groups, is organizing
to reintroduce this highly imperilled species in eastern
North America, which was a part
of its historic range.
2004 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to our feedback form