Whooping Crane Migration Update: February 11, 2011

The youngest cranes of both flocks have safely migrated hundreds of miles to their wintering grounds. They are busy exploring and learning. Visit both flocks in this week's slideshows and field notes. Learn to identify the Eastern flock's newest crane-kids by their banding codes. Welcome to a historic new season!

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

Playful young crane: Name this game!
Photo: Diane Loyd

Welcome! Adventure Ahead

We're glad you're here to get set for spring's journey north! What's on the minds of the people who work so hard to save this endangered species?

  • The number of whoopers in the Western (main) flock is likely to tie or break the record for all-time high. Stay tuned!
  • The new Eastern flock has 19 juveniles safely on their wintering grounds. They include 10 ultralight-led birds and 7 Direct Autumn Release (DAR) birds and 2 wild-hatched birds to migrate back this spring.
  • Will the spring nesting season be successful for the new Eastern flock? Later we'll explore and think with the scientists who are making a new plan.

Adventure lies ahead as the tallest bird in North America faces an historic year. Welcome!

Photo: Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

What could these cranes be doing? Identify these cranes by their band colors!


Slideshows: Visit the Wintering Grounds

An estimated 270 are in Texas. Visit! 

Hunkered down today on their wintering grounds are the world's wild migratory Whooping cranes. At least 270 are on the Texas Gulf Coast. The 107 birds of the new Eastern flock are wintering in Florida and 6 other states. Take a tour and make discoveries with our slideshows!

The Class of 2010 is in Florida. Visit!

News: Field Reports from Texas and Florida

Latest News!
The Western Flock in Texas

Ready for Migration?

Latest News!
The Class of 2010 in Florida

Welcome back to the crane experts who bring us the news! In Texas with the original natural flock, today Tom Stehn tells how he counts Whooping cranes — and also has surprising news about a new flock. In Florida watching over the Class of 2010 are ICF's tracker Eva at "Chass" NWR, and Operation Migration pilot Brooke at St. Marks NWR. They will share photos, crane mischief, and tracking news when migration gets underway. What's the latest word at each wintering grounds? Click above on Latest News as the adventure begins!

Coming Soon: Track the Migration
Starting in March, you'll see the migration progress of both flocks — ALL the world's migratory Whooping cranes — live on our MapServer!
migration animation
Links: Helpful Resources to Explore

Research Question: For what reasons might scientists put leg bands on the chicks of the new Eastern flock? What could they learn from banding these birds? What other Whooping cranes are now being banded? Write your ideas in your Journey North Whooping Crane Journal.

Check out the Port Aransas Whooping Crane Festival. February 24-27 is the 15th annual celebration!
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on February 25, 2011.