Migration Update: April 23, 2010  

The "St. Marks Two" who left FL April 14 completed their migration April 21! Wearing mini GPS devices, so did RAY and YAY; what did researchers learn? A scientist helps us explore how many eggs it takes to make another Whooping crane egg, and another wonders how cranes know when they're home. What do you see in this photo—and what don't you see?

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

What can you tell and what will you learn?

Migration News: Map and Field Reports

Western Flock News

Data /Map

Eastern Flock News and Finish Line

Many more whoopers were seen in the Dakotas as they reached the halfway point of migration, and YAY and RAY are back at the Canada nesting grounds!

This Spring's Migration
There are about 366 migratory Whooping cranes: 262 in the western (natural) flock and 103 in the eastern (reintroduced) flock. Do you see two flyways for these two migratory flocks?

The last two juveniles (#906 and #912) to leave St. Marks NWR passed over Necedah NWR on April 21! Where are they now? What's Sara's latest nesting news? More.

RAY and YAY: Migration Complete! Scientist's Report 
Both newly "radioed" cranes RAY and YAY have flown over 2,500 miles to arrive at the natural flock's nesting grounds in Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park! What did researchers learn as the cranes made their first migration wearing mini GPS devices? What do they now hope to learn about how these two cranes use the vast breeding grounds? What helpful information do they expect to gain from YAY's GPS data? Scientist Jessica Rempel updates us on the adventure of RAY and YAY.

What's in this puddle?
Audio Clip: How Do Cranes Know "Home"?
Each week more endangered Whooping cranes complete their long spring migrations. Whooping cranes return to the very area where they fledged, or learned to fly. In Sara and Eva's report you read that #906 and #912 flew over their fledging grounds at Necedah NWR and flew to Iowa. Did you wonder why? How do you think the youngsters know when they've reached home? No one really knows the answer, but ultralight pilot Joe Duff shares his thoughts. Listen to Joe's audio clip (36 seconds) to see what he thinks. Then imagine: what are YOUR ideas?
Journal Topic: Eggs to Cranes Lesson

You've learned that cranes normally lay two eggs. As we look forward to those eggs to hatch, here's something to wonder:

  • How many Whooping crane eggs does it take to make another Whooping crane egg? What factors might affect breeding success?

Write your thoughts. Then dig into biologist Brian Johns' lesson to discover more about the answer. Why don't the numbers add up? The answer is not as simple as it seems.

Photo Vickie Henderson

Earth Day: A Podcast Podcast

Did you know? On the 39th Earth Day (one year ago) the US House of Representatives passed the Crane Conservation Act. The Act supports crane conservation both in the U.S. and around the world. Cranes are considered the world’s most endangered bird family.

April 22 was the 40th Earth Day, and that's something to celebrate. "The idea of Earth Day hasn't changed, but the planet has," says Mark Chenoweth of Whooper Happenings, who aired his own Earth Day Podcast. One person CAN make a difference, and Mr. Chenoweth tells families how. He also reminds us, "You can't save a species unless you save their habitat and the environment they live in." Hear comments of Operation migration pilots, too, as we appreciate and celebrate all the efforts to help this endangered species.

Hear Mark Chenoweth's podcast (9 min.) about Earth Day and how our families can help the environment and help Whooping cranes. Feel proud to do your part!

Links: Helpful Resources to Explore

Photo Sue Kersey
What's going on here?
(Enlarge and find out!)

More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 30, 2010.