Whooping Crane Migration Update: March 2, 2007

Today's Report Includes:

Which flock? Click photo for clues! >>

Migration Map and Highlights: One Early Bird!
Click for migration animation >>
Click for migration animation >>
While the Western flock is hunkered down in Texas, one early whooper in the Eastern flock has begun migration! Richard Urbanek of the Tracking Team announced the news: According to PTT readings, Direct Autumn Release (DAR) crane #27-05 roosted in Pike County, Indiana, on February 21. She left her Tennessee wintering grounds after Feb. 12. Was she an early bird last year too? Find out here.

When they're underway, you'll see the migration progress of both flocks — ALL the world's migratory whooping cranes — live on our MapServer. Migration news starts now!
Western Flock: Quiet Heroes Read >>
Tom Stehn's report
At the wintering grounds in Texas, Tom Stehn has been studying the only natural migratory flock of whooping cranes for 25 years. The flock size has tripled — from 71 in 1982 to the current 237. This winter, seven crane pairs each brought two chicks to the winter home at Aransas NWR. That's the most two-chick families that Aransas has ever had.

Every whooping crane is special because it is so rare, but some stand out more in Tom's memory than others. The crane pair “Al and Diane” are among these quiet heroes. More >>
Sizing Up the Eastern Flock: A Success Story Explore! >>

The First Family >>

Photo Chris Gullikson

How many males and females in the new flock now?>>

How old are the whoopers in the new flock now? >>

Bringing back whooping cranes has been called "the wildlife equivalent of putting a man on the moon.” It took humans only 100 years to nearly wipe out this 64-million-year old species. In just six seasons of dedication, long hours, and hard labor by a whole team of experts and volunteers, we have 62 whooping cranes flying once again over eastern North America! Another 5-6 years of teamwork and the Eastern population should be self-sustaining. That's something to celebrate, and to help right the human wrongs.

Our questions and handouts dig into the measures of success. >>

Journal Question: Why is it Important?

Facts and stories in today's report will give you lots to think about. Use what you've read to answer:

  • Why is it important to establish the Eastern flock?

Write your ideas in your Whooping Crane Journal. >>

Looking Ahead: The Conservation Challenge

Florida's tragic storm of Feb. 2 was a powerful reminder of the conservation challenges Whooping Cranes face. It was devastating to have 17 strong, healthy birds all die in one event. In an interview with NBC News on Feb. 4, 2007, Joe Duff said: “These birds are critically important to our survival, too. It’s not just about enjoyment and being able to see wildlife... It’s about the habitat.” In other words, what's good for Whooping Cranes is good for all of us. Listen: >>

This Week's Crane Resources
  • Teachers: Getting Started >>
  • After the Storm: Teachers Help Students With Grief and Loss >>
  • Slideshows: Visit the Whooping Crane Wintering Grounds >> and >>
  • Video: Watching Walking Whoopers >>
  • Photo Journal: How Are Scientists Bringing Back the Cranes? >>
  • Whooping Crane Migration Journals (click-and-print) >>
  • Whooping Cranes for Kids (booklets, photos, videos) >>
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on March 16, 2007.