Wildlife biologist Carrie
Salyers celebrates a historic day for conservation in Louisiana.
In February 2011, Whooping cranes were back in Louisiana after
an absence of more than 60 years!
Ten young whooping cranes were flown from Maryland to Louisiana,
each in it own special box. But they weren't home yet! A boat ride
finished the trip out to their watery new home on White Lake Wetlands
These ten are the first birds of the new flock being started at
the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area. The location is about
125 miles west of New Orleans, in southwestern Louisiana. It’s
great crane habitat, and Whooping cranes lived here long ago.
These Whooping crane chicks are probably glad to get out of their
boxes! They were costume-reared in the captive breeding center,
just like chicks who became part of the ultralight-led flock that
spends summer in Wisconsin and winter in Florida. They have never
seen humans who were not wearing costumes to hide their human form.
It is best if wild cranes never get used to humans, or want to
be near them.
Each chick was fitted with identifying legbands during the arrival
health check. A little hood over their eyes kept them from seeing
the humans, who took off their costumes for easier working
during the exam and banding. Sara applies a legband while a helper
holds the crane.
This chick is all set to be released. Its legs now have the color
bands and a radio transmitter. You can see the antenna. The transmitters
will help biologists track the movements of the birds. This is
crane #9, whose banding code is BYR (blue/yellow/red).
Sara Zimorski (in costume) helps perform the health check. Sara
moved from ICF in Wisconsin to Louisiana to become the head field
person working with the Louisiana Whooping cranes.
The crane is now almost ready for release. What do you observe
that shows this is a young crane?
The crane is handed off to another handler, who will carry the
bird out to its new home.
Carrie and Sara take the bird to the pen. The fenced enclosure
will keep the birds safe until they get used to being wild and
free. What kind of habitat is here for the cranes?
This pen has a net on top so the birds can't fly away. The net
will be taken off after two weeks so the birds can come and go.
Do you see the bird stretching its wings?
The cranes take their first steps on Louisiana soil after an absence
of more than 60 years.
The pen has food and fresh water supplies to help the cranes get
started. They will have no trouble finding crabs in the marsh!
Thumbs up! Mission accomplished!
What would YOUR "Welcome Back to Louisiana Poster" look
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