Whooping Crane Whooping Crane
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FINAL Whooping Crane Migration Update: May 12, 2006

Today's Report Includes:

Where Are the Crane Kids? Spring 2006 Migration Maps
A group of 14 crane kids
migrated together Spring 2006. The group split up after reaching home.
Cranes #516 and #522
migrated together Spring 2006. They are still in Indiana.
Crane #520 went astray with #309. She was captured and flown home in a plane.

Hooray! The first journey north for the HY2005 crane kids is successfully complete for all but two of the 19 that followed the ultralights to Florida last fall. Still together in Indiana, #516 and #522 are taking their time. Because of injury, #516 missed several segments of the ultralight-led migration last fall. Will these two return to Wisconsin? Team members still hope so. (Find each crane's individual map on the MapServer.)

The flock's four Direct Autumn Release (DAR) chicks also made their first journey north. Two are home in Wisconsin, and DAR #533 is still with sandhill cranes in Michigan. And where's Waldo, the one not seen or heard from since he left Florida in March? The location of DAR #532 (first called "Waldo") will surprise and delight you!

As of today, the 64 cranes in the new Eastern flock are here: Wisconsin (55), Iowa (5, who just moved there), Indiana (2), and Michigan (2).

Life stories of every crane in the Eastern flock are always updated here. Keep up with your favorite cranes all year long!

Today we thank Sara Zimorski for a season of reporting and photos as she brings us up to date. THANKS, SARA!

Photo Heather Ray

Home Again! The Capture and Return of #520 and #309
At 1:56 CDT on May 5, 2006, whooping cranes #520 and #309 were retrieved from a wet hayfield along the Black River in New York state. The two females were transported to Necedah NWR, where they were released at 7:43 PM. All is well!

Crane team member Sara shares the adventure with you, saying, “The capture went very well. This one's been a long time coming: almost 2.5 years since #309 was last at Necedah!”

See the picture story of Sara and Richard capturing the cranes!


Rescued Eggs Become Eastern Flock’s First Baby Chicks
Congratulations to #213 and #218! This pair laid the first eggs to hatch in the new Eastern flock! But the two new chicks will never know their parents. Why? You recall that the two eggs were rescued when the adults left the nest unguarded for several hours. The eggs were taken to ICF, where Kelly Macguire took good care of them. On May 4 the eggs were flown to Maryland for hatching with other eggs destined to join the new Eastern flock. See Kelly’s story for details:
Meet Chick #602!

Welcome Babies! HY2006 Chicks are Hatching
The new arrivals are hatching! Witness a chick’s remarkable beginnings:

These are busy times at the chick-rearing building in Maryland. Approximately 36 eggs are needed to build a cohort for the ultralight project in 2006. These are the birthdays so far (chicks #602 and #603 are the offspring of #213 and #218)!

#601 May 5, 2006
#602 May 6, 2006
#603 May 7, 2006
#604 May 8, 2006
#605 May 9, 2006

Preparing for an Amazing Journey: Link to Activity
The whooping crane chicks that hatch in captivity this spring have an exciting summer ahead. They have a lot to learn before they journey south this fall — following an ultralight airplane! Here’s a preview of what’s to come! Download our handout and write your own captions for these delightful photos!

Western Flock: Tom Stehn Reports
With almost all the whooping cranes gone north to Canada until fall, Tom tells us about what happens at Aransas during the summer. Some activities that might disturb the cranes are only permitted at Aransas during the summer when the cranes are gone. What activities disturb and endanger the cranes? Tom also tells why the past winter was not a good one for the flock. What’s ahead? Tom reminds us of our mission:
Journey North is grateful to you, Tom Stehn, for all you teach us, and for your leadership in restoring this endangered species! THANK YOU!

Photo Heather Ray

Western Flock on Nesting Grounds: Brian Johns Reports
Biologist Brain Johns reports that the breeding birds have established territories, built nests, laid their eggs and are currently incubating. Find out who cares for the eggs and when they will hatch. Brian also tells us about a young crane that made the separation from its parents on the journey north, but has gotten off track. Where is the young bird? See:
Thank you, Brian Johns, for sending us news and photos from the natural flock's Canadian nesting grounds!

Western Flock: Lobstick Family with Twins
Photo Diane Loyd

Leaving the Parents: Discussion of CQ #12
“What skills must a young crane learn from its parents before it's ready for life on its own? (Start your list from time of hatching. Go through the first year of life, ending with spring migration.) Which of these skills can YOU already do? Which will you need more time and experience to learn?"

Marcus (home schooler from Mt. Airy, MD) has put together thoughtful, thorough, and excellent answers for both parts of this question! We all can learn from Marcus. Here’s an answer to be proud of:

What’s Next? Yearlings Become Wild
There will be no more pens or feeders for the HY2005 crane kids who have just made their first return to Necedah NWR. They’re on their own!

This sculpture is named Freedom, Liberty, and Courage. It stands on the new Eastern Flock's summer grounds at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Do you think the sculpture's title is a good one? What would YOU name it?

Photo Wayne Kryduba

Now is the time for them to practice their wildness for real. These whoopers, hatched last spring, are (or soon will be) one year old. In terms of human lives, the HY 2005 cranes are not quite teenagers—at least, they’re not yet interested in dating. Whooping cranes usually start forming pairs while they are two and three years old. They probably won’t nest till they’re three, four or five years old—which is exactly what's now happening in the Eastern flock. In 2005, the flock's very first eggs were laid, even though both were destroyed. In 2006, we saw the first eggs hatch into chicks, even though it happened in a captive breeding facility. When will we see the first chicks hatched in a next by Eastern crane parents themselves? Perhaps in 2007? Stay tuned!

During the next few months, the HY2004 chicks will break their bond with humans. They'll fine-tune their survival skills and become as free and independent as nature intended. During their journey north, they selected proper crane habitat and avoided people. These cranes we’ve watched so closely may live 20 to 30 years in the wild, and they will be the ancestors of what we hope will be a thriving Eastern flock. We wish them well!

Endangered Species Day 2006
The U.S. Senate declared May 11, 2006 as Endangered Species Day. The purpose was to "encourage the people of the United States to become educated about, and aware of, threats to species, success stories in species recovery, and the opportunity to promote species conservation worldwide." To help celebrate and educate, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has created a Web site describing the conservation efforts for 100 endangered species in the U.S. Click on YOUR state to see success stories. What does the site say about whooping cranes?
Year-End Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts!
Please take a few minutes to share your suggestions and comments in our Year-End Evaluation. The information you provide is critical for planning new initiatives and for improving Journey North. Also, as a free program supported by a generous grant from Annenberg Media, we want to be able to document Journey North's reach, impact and value. THANK YOU!

Journey North
Year End Evaluation

Please share your thoughts!

This is the FINAL Crane Migration Update for Spring 2006. . Please join us at Journey South in September as we follow the newest crane kids on their first migration. Ultralight airplanes will lead the way!


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