Whooping Crane Migration Update: March 27, 2009

Today's Report Includes:

  • Four Florida Juveniles Start Migration! >>
  • News: Reports and Photos From the Field >>
  • Journal Topic: Tracking the Eastern Flock: Why and How? >>
  • Photo Study: Decode the Leg Bands >>
  • Report Your Sightings: Citizen Scientists Needed >>
  • Links: This Week's Crane Resources >>

Four Florida Juveniles Start Migration!

Map and Track >>

Four of the "Chass 7" began migration March 24 with a great push from the S/SW winds! Eva took to the roads to track them, but crossing rivers slowed her chase; the birds got way ahead of her and she lost them. Today we learned that they made it to northern Alabama by the evening of March 25 and migrated again March 26. Eva will report when she gets a PTT reading so she can find and track them again!

As the first solo migration of the ultralight-led "babies'" begins, Operation Migration's Joe Duff reminds us: "After spending so much time controlling every aspect of their experience it's hard to step back and let our birds live as wild creatures. We have to remember that their kind has been doing this for millions of years. For them to live on their own, completely independent from us, is as natural as nature itself. Despite how nervous it makes us we must realize that they are safer out on their own than they are in the pen under our care. That's a hard lesson to learn."

News: Reports and Photos from the Field Sara on Migration Timing >>

Photo USFWS at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas

Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Western Flock News>>
Wildlife officials are watching the whoopers wintering at Aransas. What is their main worry? These birds aren't tracked, but isn't that a leg band in the photo above? What might help us know more about how they fare on their journey north after a tough winter in Texas? >>

The Finish Line >>

At least 29-30 cranes had completed migration to Wisconsin by March 23. Arrivals included four of the 2008 DAR chicks, who traveled south AND north with adult #216! (Why is that such terrific news?)

Eastern Flock News>>
Which four Chass juveniles began migration March 24? They are leading tracker Eva on a merry chase! Bev wondered: Will the juveniles be able to take care of themselves when they leave the release site to migrate north? Something she saw convinced her they could! >>

Journal Topic: Tracking the Eastern Flock: Why and How? Lesson: Radio Telemetry: Tracking the Cranes >> 

Eva's report showed us that tracking the cranes migration is not easy! On the other hand, if you were a crane, how would you like to wear a device that tracks you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Let's think about tracking:

How is tracking done? >>

  • Discuss or write: Why do you think trackers work so hard to track the cranes in the new Eastern flock? How will they use what they learn? Why isn't the natural flock tracked?

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

Clip: Lara explains radio tracking.
Watch It Now

Video Tech Tips

Photo Study: Decode the Crane Bands Chart: Identify by Band Colors: >>
Photo Bev Paulan, Operation Migration
Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF
Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Are any of these among the Chass juveniles that began migration this week?

Report Your Sightings: Citizen Scientists Needed

With over 300 migratory cranes in two flyways, some of you may be lucky enough to see some during the season. In addition to reporting on Journey North's site, you can also use the link below. It provides a public reporting form on a site maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The link has a helpful section on using leg bands in identifying and reporting this endangered species. When a report is submitted, the information goes simultaneously to many partners: the biologists who are tracking the birds, FWS, International Crane Foundation, Wisconsin DNR, and Operation Migration. Check it out, citizen scientists!

Before you report a crane sighting: Are you certain it's a Whooper? Please see WCEP form.
This Week's Crane Resources
  • Photo Study: Who's the Predator? Who's the Prey? >>
  • Tracking Lesson: Radio Telemetry: Tracking the Cranes >>
  • Crane History: Cracking the Code: Banded Cranes Tell Their Story >>
  • Archives: Tale of a Banded Crane >>
  • A Scientist's Thoughts: Migration Mystery: Timing >>
  • Identify Using Band Colors: Quick Color Codes for the Class of 2008 >>
  • Mapping and Record Keeping: Track the Migration >>
  • Meet Student Craniacs: Classrooms in Action >>

Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF
Are these juveniles at Chass landing — or taking off? Explain.
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 3, 2009.