FINAL Whooping Crane Migration Update: May 13, 2011

The journey north winds down and the first chicks for the Class of 2011 have hatched! See what's ahead for the fast-growing fluff-balls in our video clip and slideshows. New nests and chicks in Wisconsin create excitement, and nesting conditions in Canada are good. We end the season with tribute, celebration, and news of changes ahead. Thanks for joining us!

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

Class of 2011 Begins Hatching!

Nonfiction Story: Teaching Chicks to Eat

News: Take Stock of the Flock

Data /Map/Finish Line
Whooping cranes exist only in North America. Our map shows the flyways of the two migratory flocks as they complete migration to nesting grounds in Wisconsin and Canada.

Latest News: Western Flock
Migration 2011 is nearly complete! Tom reports the world's total: 571 Whooping cranes. Why is this is a number to celebrate, but also a number to fear?
Latest News: Eastern flock
The Class of 2010 is back in Wisconsin and nests are the big news now. Two living chicks have been confirmed, but Black flies may be creating trouble for other nesting pairs.
Celebrating: 571 Cranes, and Tom Stehn

The latest official Whooping Crane tally of 571 comes fresh from Whooping Crane Coordinator Tom Stehn. We celebrate each of those 571 cranes. But as we finish this season, we also celebrate biologist Tom Stehn. He plans to retire before the next spring migration, so today is likely his final report.

Every spring since 1995, Tom has shared stories about quirky, noble, brave, cranes. How many Whooping cranes wintered in Texas back in that year? What fond nickname have Tom's fellow WCEP scientists given him? Find the answers and more here: Thank You, Tom Stehn! We are all so grateful for how Tom has inspired, entertained, and taught us. Before digging into the rest of his report, note his words to you:

"You'll be able to follow this struggle for existence for the rest of your lives. And hopefully someday you'll be able to say: "I remember when there were only 571 whooping cranes alive."

Chick Chat: First Babies for Class of 2011!

Whoopee! The Class of 2010 has come home to Wisconsin without any help, and the first chicks in the new Class of 2011 have hatched! Next October this special group will follow ultralight airplanes south to learn their migration route to the wintering grounds. They will return in spring to Wisconsin, and in future years will nest and help the new eastern flock grow.

Introducing the first arrivals for the ultralight-led Class of 2011!

Crane chick #1-10 Crane chick #3-10 Crane chick #5-10
Crane chick #6-10 Crane chick #8-10
Bio pages coming soon!

Image: Eva Szyszkoski

In addition to captive-born chicks, everyone is hoping more wild-born chicks will add to the Eastern flock this summer.

Who is this nesting pair in Wisconsin, and what are they doing? Enlarge to find out!

Nesting Updates 2011, Eastern Flock

Create-a-Caption: What Will the New Chicks Do This Summer?

The whooping crane chicks that hatch in captivity this spring have an exciting summer ahead. They have a lot to learn before they journey south this fall — following an ultralight airplane! These slide shows give you a preview about the training and travels ahead of them. They'll get you ready to write your own captions for the Summer Adventures Slideshow!

Summer Adventures Slide Show
Create-a-Caption Handout

See these slideshows to help you write captions:
Teacher Guide
Changes: "Flight School" is Moving Article/Journal Question

No longer will the ultralight-led chicks start their Wisconsin lives at Necedah NWR. Starting in June, captive-hatched chicks for fall's ultralight-led journey south will learn to fly at White River Marsh State Wildlife Area. Find out why the training site is moving, and what this means for the new Eastern Flock.

Annual Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts

Will you take a few minutes to complete our Year-end Evaluation? With your help, we can document Journey North's reach, impact and value. We need comments like yours to keep the program going and growing.

This is the FINAL Whooping Crane Migration Update for spring 2011. Thanks for cheering the cranes on their journey north. Please join us in September as the now-hatching Class of 2011 trains for its ultralight-led Journey South! Until then, see summer chick and training news at Operation Migration Field Journal. Have a fun-filled summer!