Migration Update: March 26, 2010 Ask the Crane Expert!
Send questions before April 2

Whooping cranes are homeward bound in both the Central and Eastern flyways. They include eight 2009 crane-kids! Discover which have reached Wisconsin, including the first 2009 DAR chick. How far north are early migrants of the Western flock? Consider why small groups leave at different times. See some human actions that help cranes in our slideshow and this photo.

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week


What is this, and how does it help migrating cranes?

Migration News: Map and Field Reports

Western Flock News

Data /Map

Eastern Flock News and Arrival Log

Tom Stehn says a considerable number of Whooping cranes have started the migration earlier than normal. What might explain it? How many are left at Aransas, and what's Tom's question for you?

This Spring's Migration
There are about 366 migratory Whooping cranes: 262 in the western flock and 103 in the eastern flock.

Which of the '09 crane kids and several older birds have already completed spring migration to Wisconsin? Which eight of the St. Marks 10 are headed north? How are the 9 Chass chicks? See the news!

Journal: Travel Groups

In this week's field reports you read about the crane departures in each flock. Is it what you expected? Is it what the experts expected? Tom Stehn offers this week's question, well worth thinking about:

  • "Can you think of reasons why it might be an advantage for Whooping cranes to (1)migrate in small groups and (2)leave at different times?"

Write your thoughts in your journal.

Next week Tom will share his answer, learned from more than 30 years of observing Whooping cranes.

Photo Matt Strausser, ICF
Slideshow: Crab Trap Pickup Helps Cranes

You know how important blue crabs are to the winter diet of Whooping cranes. Crabs are in demand by humans, too. Over many decades, abandoned commercial crab traps had been scattered throughout Texas bays. These abandoned traps became a big problem. But starting in 2002, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) regulation — and many helpful volunteers — have greatly reduced the number of abandoned traps. Find out how in Tom Stehn's slideshow story. As usual, Tom has some questions for you! Jump into your waders and mud clothes. Here we go: Crab Trap Pickup Helps Cranes.

Lesson: What Kind of Journey Lies Ahead? Nonfiction Selection

Cranes in the Aransas/Wood Buffalo flock often fly 6-8 hours a day on a 2,400-mile migration that can take as long as a month. Cranes in the Wisconsin/Florida flock fly over 1,200 miles on their journey north. Migration is the time when the cranes encounter the most danger. Why do these endangered birds make such a long trip? What perils do they face?
Humans are part of the problems but also part of the solutions. See why as you read
Migration: A Dangerous Journey.

Reading Writing Selection

TEACHER TIP: This high-interest nonfiction page links to a Journey North Reading and Writing Lesson. Here?s an opener from the menu of choices: Before reading the selection, have students imagine being a Whooping crane on the journey north as they list questions and predictions based on the title of the article. Examples: What are the possible dangers that make the journey treacherous for Whooping cranes? How can the dangers be managed to help make the journey less treacherous? Who must take responsibility for the dangers? Encourage students to brainstorm anticipatory questions using Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

Links: Helpful Resources to Explore
Photo Matt Strausser. ICF
What is missing on #907's leg? (enlarge)
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 2, 2010.