Why are some wild Whooping cranes now getting radio-bands?
In 2010, two Whooping cranes captured at Aransas NWR (TX) and nine in Wood Buffalo National Park (Canada) were fitted with GPS transmitters. Satellites use the radio signals emittedto track movement of the birds. The tracking is the first done on the Western Flock (the last remaining natural flock) in 25 years! Another 12 Whooping crane juveniles were captured in Wood Buffalo National Park in August 2011 for attachment of radio-tracking devices, bringing the total number of "radioed" birds to 23. The project is a top priority of the Whooping Crane Recovery Team. Why? More

Image Gene Jockey

In more than 470 crane deaths from 1950 to 2010, experts have known the cause of death in only 17 cases. With the loss of 21.4% of the flock in the 12 months following April 2008, it was clear that experts need to learn more about about the causes of crane deaths. Tracking can help. This project by The Crane Trust, led by Dr. Felipe Chavez-Ramirez, plans to radio-band 60 cranes by 2013. After cranes leave, migration stopover sites, crews visit to study how cranes used those habitats. Migration is a dangerous time for this endangered species, and information from these "radioed" cranes will help experts develop ways to reduce threats and death during migration.