Migration Update: April 2, 2010 Ask the Crane Expert!
Deadline April 2 at noon!

The "St. Marks 8" crane-kids completed migration April 1! Fly their journey with a quick video clip. Five 2009 DAR chicks are back too. Meanwhile, a record whooper sighting created excitement in Kansas and the time of peak Texas departures is near. Our slideshow tells how two wild cranes nicknamed YAY and RAY helped launch a new research project and one of the cranes is in this photo. What's happening?

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

Photo:The Crane Trust (Nebraska)

What is happening to this wild Whooping crane?

Migration News: Map and Field Reports

Western Flock News

Data /Map

Eastern Flock News and Arrival Log

"We're approaching the peak departure time at Aransas," says Tom Stehn. You'll be interested in two families that left this week. A record sighting of 74 whoopers occurred April 1 on the Quivira refuge in Kansas and more are on the way!

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

On April 1 the St. Marks 8 became the first ultralight-led cranes to complete their spring migration! The other 11 are still in Florida. Five Class of 2009 DAR (Direct Autumn Release) chicks are back, and two in Indiana. Click for more news.

Journal Topic: Migration Timing

According to satellite readings from two of the birds in the group, the "St. Marks 8" made the following progress on their first journey north:

Date Roost Location Miles Traveled
3/24/10 Shelby County, AL
3/28/10 Monroe County, IN
3/29/10 Fountain County, IN
3/30/10 Jefferson County, WI
3/31/10 Monroe County, WI
Dan Kaiser's photo confirmed to trackers that the st. Marks 8 were together in Indiana.
  • How many total miles did they fly on their journey north? What's the average number of miles they covered on each day of flying?
  • What allowed these now-wild cranes to make the return migration in just one week when their ultralight-led journey south took nearly three months? Do some research with resources for this week's report before you respond in your journal. Be as specific as you can and use the words thermal currents in your answer. (See 1.5 minute video clip of the St. Marks 8's journey north.)

Tom Stehn's Answer to Last Week's Question:
Last week biologist Tom Stehn asked why you thought cranes migrated in small groups and left at different times. This week you can compare Tom's answer to yours! What did you know and what did you learn?

Research/Slideshow: YAY and RAY Are Pioneer Cranes
Last week you learned that migration is a dangerous journey. "Efforts to reduce mortality (deaths) throughout the migration corridor cannot be accomplished without better data and information as to the causes, locations, and conditions under which Whooping crane mortality occurs," says scientist Jessica Rempel. She manages a new research project in which two wild cranes became the first helpers. How? When? Where? Why? Jessica tells the story in our new slideshow: Ray and RAY: Two Pioneer Cranes. Next week we'll have more about this exciting new research and the whereabouts of the cranes. Stay tuned!

What is this? Find out in this Slideshow
about new crane research.
Links: Helpful Resources to Explore

Thanks to this video clip by Heather Ray at Operation Migration, you can fly with the St. Marks 8 and complete the journey north in less than 1.5 minutes!
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 9, 2010.