Whooping Crane Migration Update: March 25, 2011

Whoop, whoop and away! On the first day of spring, two of the 2010 youngsters wintering at St. Marks began their first journey north. The first birds to leave Texas have been reported in Kansas, while a whopping 48 older cranes in the Eastern Flock have landed on the Wisconsin nesting grounds.

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

Image: Laura Erickson

Cranes migrate in small groups that leave at different times. How does this help the species survive?

News: Migration Map and Field Reports

Data /Map /Finish Line

Migration is underway!
An estimated 385 endangered Whooping cranes will migrate north this spring. See migration progress of both flocks — ALL the world's migratory Whooping cranes — on our MapServer!

Latest News: Western Flock
Most of the western flock is still on the Texas wintering grounds. When do they usually depart on migration?
What unusual timing has biologist Tom noticed about recent departures?

Latest News: Eastern flock
Eight of the ten 2010 crane kids are still in place in Florida. Most older cranes are headed north, and an astonishing 48 have completed migration to Wisconsin's Necedah NWR area as of March 21st!

Migration Math: How Many Days?

The two young cranes that departed St. Marks NWR in Florida on March 21 have been on their wintering grounds since their December 15 arrival. How many days is that? How long do the eastern flock cranes usually spend on the wintering grounds? Does it vary much from year to year? Find out when you view a chart showing number of days on the wintering grounds. Then do some migration math and compare with previous years:

Write your responses in your journal.

Soon these young cranes at "Chass" NWR in Florida will make their first migration north. Read the leg bands! (Enlarge)

Crane Conservation: Welcome Back!

Wildlife biologist Carrie Salyers celebrates a historic day for conservation in Louisiana. In February 2011, Whooping cranes were back in this state after an absence of more than 60 years! How did they get there? What is the plan?

Take a photo field trip and find out more about efforts to safeguard North America's tallest bird and most endangered crane.

Image: Gay Gomez
Photos, Video, Text

Questions? Ask the Expert Now Open
This photo shows our crane expert Laura Erickson getting off a Whooping crane tour boat in February. Laura spent time at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, home of the world's last natural flock of migrating Whooping cranes, now 281 in all. Laura is all set to answer the crane questions you are most curious about. Ask the Expert until noon on April 1. We'll be back with the answers!

Laura Erickson at Aransas NWR: February 2011
Research Question and Quick Links: Helpful Resources to Explore

Research Question: What triggers migration?

See: Frequently Asked Questions

The Finish Line, 2011

Which migrating pair (Eastern Flock) is this? Have they reached the finish line?
Photo Mark Crowley

More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 1, 2011.