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Countdown to Migration: September 9, 2005

Chick Chat: Whooping Crane Chicks Get Pre-Migration Check-ups
Like many students this time of year, the chicks saw the doctor for a check-up. All 21 whooping crane chicks passed their pre-migratory health exam by a world-class crane veterinarian. But that's not all.

While captured for the health exam, each chick was also fitted with a temporary radio transmitter on its left leg. The small device is fixed to a colored and numbered leg band. The transmitters will help the migration team to track any chick that gets separated during the upcoming journey south. With every bird so valuable, they don't want to risk losing a single one. The health checks and banding are important steps in the countdown to the chicks' first migration.

Update Your Training Timeline!
You can add "chick check-ups" to your own timeline for this year's flock. Milestones and key events (some with photos) for the newest members of the Eastern flock are listed here:

Meet the Flock: Getting to Know the Cranes
Would you like to know each chick's weight? How about its leg band color? You'll find it all on their life history page. Find your favorite chick's biography here:
Crane Quiz #1
Read the biography pages carefully to find the answers to these questions:

1. One of the older chicks in Cohort One (the oldest chicks) always seems to be making news. Among many other things, this chick got attacked by an adult whooping crane. He also hurt his leg while playing with a goose feather. Which chick?

2. Which chick dropped out of a flying lesson, got lost in the woods, and wasn't found until after six hours of frantic searching?

3. Which chick (handler Mark Nipper says) tried to beat up Mark? Mark says she's meek and mild but doesn't take any garbage from the older cranes hanging around the training area. She chases them away!

4. Which chick weighed the most at the pre-migration health check? Which one weighed the least? STRATEGY TIP: Remember that the cranes are numbered according to hatching order (age). How can you use this informtion to make predictions before you look for the answers?

Meet the Team
Another recent special event at Camp OM was new pilot Chris Gullikson's first flight with the chicks. As you might guess, it's not a job just ANYone can do! How did Chris prepare for this exciting event? What was it like for him? We've linked to Chris's "First Flight" story under his picture on our Meet the Team page. Check it out:

You're Invited: 5th Annual Whooping Crane Festival
Are you lucky enough to live anywhere near Tomah, Wisconsin? If so, come to the Whooping Crane Festival on the grounds of the nearby (17 miles away) Necedah Airport on September 17. It's your chance to see an ultralight plane and hear Operation Migration pilot/leader Joe Duff at the festive outdoor event!

This Week's Booklet to Build Knowledge: "Whooping Crane Comeback"
It's been a busy week at "Camp Operation Migration." (That's what we fondly call the whooping crane grounds of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.) Who are these gangly young birds? Why are a few people running around silently with crane puppets while wearing baggy white sacks to hide themselves?

Find answers in the first of six kids' booklets, starting this week. Plan on one booklet each week as a fun way to build background for the coming migration. Each booklet comes in .pdf format, ready to print, fold, and enjoy. Start here:

Countdown to Migration: Posted Every Friday
E-mail Summaries are posted to registered participants on FRIDAYS: Sep 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Oct 7, 14, 21, 28; Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25. . .or until this year's newest Eastern whooping crane chicks reach their winter home in Florida!

Pre-migration: Each Friday, a brief e-mail notice gives current newsy tidbits and announces a downloadable booklet for building background.

During migration: When migration begins, the Friday e-mails will summarize the Highlight Updates (complete with latest maps, facts, photos, and fun) that were posted daily on the Web during the week.

See You Next Friday, September 16!

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in cooperation with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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