Whooping Crane Migration Update: March 20, 2009


Today's Report Includes:

  • Migration Begins! Twelve Cranes Already Home >>
  • News: Reports From the Field >>
  • Journal Topic: Feeding Stations for Wild Whooping Cranes >>
  • Photo Study: Signs of the Times >>
  • Links: This Week's Crane Resources >>

1. Which Chass juvenile has a feather stuck on its beak? >>
2. How do you think the feather got there? >>
Photo Sara Zimorski

Migration Begins! Twelve Cranes Already Home

Map and Track >>

Whoop, whoop! The miracle of migration is underway! Twelve magnificent Whooping cranes, including four breeding pairs, have already reached their summer nesting grounds in Wisconsin. The latest tracking reports are on their way, and you can count on us to keep the MapServer and bio pages up to date. Weekly reports begin now. One of these days the Class of 2008 will take to the skies on their first unaided migration—and we'll bring you the thrilling news. Are you ready to track the journey north?

News: Reports from the Field

Photo USFWS at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas

Photo Bev Paulan, Operation Migration

Western Flock News>>
Juveniles and adults, Whooping cranes and Sandhills eat corn from the feeders set up at the drought-stricken Aransas wintering grounds. Tom Stehn flew over the refuge to count cranes March 15. They're still there. How are they doing? >>

The Finish Line:

DAR 28-05
211 and 217
213 and 218
303 and 317
401 and 508

Why are breeding pairs among the first to complete migration?

Eastern Flock News>>
The first Whooping crane of the season arrived in Wisconsin March 7, and Sara phoned with the exciting news that 11 more arrived by March 19! Meanwhile, the youngest flock members are still content at their 2 Florida release sites. When will they go? >>

In Texas with the Western (natural) flock, Tom Stehn tells status and stories of the whoopers he's observed for over 30 years. In Florida watching over the Class of 2008 are Sara, Eva, Brooke and Bev. They share photos, crane mischief, and news from the two Florida release sites.

Journal Topic: Feeding Stations for Wild Whooping Cranes Lesson: Pros and Cons >> 

You know that the youngest cranes in the Eastern flock have feeders with "crane chow" as they learn to hunt and forage on their own. Now, with blue crabs so scarce in drought-dry Texas, supplementary feeding stations with corn are giving those wild cranes in the natural flock something to eat. Tom Stehn and other experts carefully thought about this decision before they did it. The question is: what are the pros and cons of supplementary feeders?

Read Tom's list of pros and cons: >>

  • Discuss or write: What do YOU think about supplementary feeding stations for wild Whooping cranes?

Write your thoughts in your Journey North Whooping Crane Journal. >>

Juveniles, adults, whoopers and sandhills go to the feeding stations at Aransas NWF. Which is the whooper juvenile?
Photo Study: Signs of the Times

Tom Stehn sent this photo taken last month of Scarbaby and its mate. "Note the horrible looking plumage and thin appearance. Some of the cranes do not look 'sleek' this winter, a sign of the tough winter from lack of their food. The grayish-tinged feathers are also a sign that the feathers will be molted soon, probably this summer." Look closely to see if you notice what Tom described.


This Week's Crane Resources
  • Identify Using Band Colors: Quick Color Codes for the Class of 2008 >>
  • Think Like a Scientist: Pros and Cons of Feeding Stations for Wild Whooping Cranes >>
  • Field Report: "Trying to Let Go," by Bev Paulan at St. Marks NWR >>
  • Mapping and Record Keeping: Track the Migration >>
  • Meet Student Craniacs: Classrooms in Action >>
  • Teachers: Getting Started >>

Photo Bev Paulan
Which St. Marks chick is this? Identify by colors: >>
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on March 27, 2009.