Key Timeline Events
Hatch Year 2008

Make your own Timeline as you follow the exciting journey!

Feb. 3, 2009 The Chass 7 were released from the top-netted pen where they had been housed during the health exams. The birds are doing well, foraging in tidal creeks outside of the pensite during the day and roosting in the open-topped pen at night.
Jan. 28, 2009 The St. Marks 7 were released from their top-netted pen. They have been foraging in mud flats about 3/4 mile away from the pen site during the day and roosting in the open-topped pen at night. They are doing very well in their new surroundings.
January 27, 2009

Health checks and banding for the 7 at Chassahowitzka NWR. Grapes were their reward!

Slide show >>
January 25, 2009 Health checks and banding for the 7 at St. Marks NWR. Grape treats helped calm the ruffled birds.
Jan. 23, 2009 The second half of the Class of 2008 completes migration by arriving at the flock's original wintering site, Chassahowitzka NWR, in the first year of splitting the wintering sites at two Florida refuges.
Jan 17, 2009 Half of the Class of 2008 completes migration as they land at St. Marks NWR in the first year of splitting the wintering sites.
Dec. 31 The migration ended 2008 grounded by weather in Chilton County Alabama. For the second year in a row, the fall migration goes into a new calendar year.
Dec. 29 Migration starts again, a day earlier than expected.
Dec. 17 In one of Alabama's rainiest autumns in history, the team decided to break the migration and go home to families for the holidays.
Nov. 10 After 11 days of weather delays in Green County, WI, they flew to Illinois!
Nov. 5 The carcass of DAR juvenile #35-08 was found on Necedah NWR. She had been killed by a predator before she even began her first southward migration.
Oct. 22 Crane #810 (renamed #10-08) was released on Necedah NWR. He is now a free-flying young bird who should learn to migrate by following older Whooping or Sandhill cranes south when they leave the refuge this fall. He wears identifying legbands, like all released cranes.
Oct. 18 This year's DAR juveniles (six in all) were released shortly before roost time
on October 18.
Oct. 17 Migration 2008 begins! See Video Clip >>
Oct. 16 All 14 birds followed the ultralight to an unfamiliar site on the refuge on a migration-eve test flight and their first overnight in the travel pen. They did well!
Oct. 11 At last, weather permitted a training flight for the whole group!
Oct. 10 The entire group flew together for the first time today. Alas, it was only 5 minutes of air time before the winds took over and forced a safe landing.
Oct. 7 In a first-ever decision, the team removed Crane #810 from the migration roster because his aggression is a risk to the other birds.
Oct. 5 The costumes let all the chicks out onto the runway together to mix for the first time. Crane #810 didn't play nice with the others and was fenced away from them.
Oct. 3 The four oldest chicks followed the ultralight to join the 11 younger chicks at the same site. All birds are together for the first time, socializing through a fence dividing the pen.
Sep. 25 The chicks of combined Cohorts 2 and 3 flew together for the first time.
Sep. 19 Cohorts 2 and 3 shared the same pen for the first time. No problems!
Sep. 15
Cohorts 2 and 3 (middle and youngest) are now at the same site. Soon they will live and train as a group.
Sep. 11 The target departure date has been set for October 17. The youngest bird will be 124 days old on that date. (The shortest period between hatch and departure was in 2007 when the youngest birds was 125 days old, so this is ambitious.) "Oct. 17 equals the latest date we have ever left Necedah," says Project Leader Joe Duff. "That was in 2001 when we only had 8 birds and it took us just 48 days to reach Florida. Let’s hope for the best."

Sep. 10

The Class of 2008 is down to 15 chicks after the removal today of #811 due to poor feather formation and other issues.
Sep. 9 Richard and his birds climbed to 200 feet above ground level (AGL). A military jet flew overhead and the chicks did not like that, "so we went back down, with the chicks trying to hide under my wing. After the jet cleared the area we were fine and flew back to the pensite."
Sep. 2-3 Pre-migration health checks for the Class of 2008!
Aug. 26 The oldest birds (cohort one) flew behind Brooke's ultralight for 17 minutes on a perfect training day!
Aug. 24 Chick #824 became the first bird in cohort three to fledge! The others are flying in ground effect.

Photo Operation Migration
Aug. 15 Cohort two birds now are all able to fly.
Aug. 2 Cohort one birds now are all able to fly.
July 29 Cohort 3 chicks (#824, 826, 827, 828, 829, 830) arrive in Wisconsin. As they bid them farewell from Maryland, trainer Barb said, "Over the past week Brian and I have worked constantly on this little social group. Over the last few days we have actually been able to train all the chicks together and have them all in one pen together at the pond for the day. We still do not trust them together overnight." This is the latest date chicks have been shipped to Wisconsin. (Shipment of these youngest chicks was postponed as the group needed more time to learn to get along together.)
July 28 Chick #816 from cohort 2 was put on a plane and sent back to Maryland because of a wing abnormality noticed soon after his arrival at Necedah. He will become a captive breeder at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
July 9

Cohort 2 chicks (#812, 813, 814, 818, 819) arrived in Wisconsin today. They were flown in a private plane (thanks to Windway Capital Corp.) from Maryland. Today #811, one of the chicks hurt in an attack by chick #810 on their second day at Necedah, was moved from cohort 1 to join the friendlier birds in cohort 2.
Photo Operation Migration

June 27 Today aggressive chick #810 attacked three other chicks in the newly arrived cohort at Necedah. The hurt birds were treated at ICF. When chick #807 died, its sibling (#809) became even more valuable as the only living offspring of its captive parents. The chick was now too genetically important to risk in the wild, so was flown back to Maryland to live and breed safely in captivity.

Chick #809
Photo Brian Clauss, PWRC

June 25 Cohort 1, the oldest group (#803, 804, 805, 810, 811), left Patuxent WRC aboard a private plane and arrived a few hours later at Wisconsin's Necedah National Wildlife Refuge for "flight school."
May 6 The first chick for the 2008 ultralight flock began hatching at Maryland's Patuxent WRC. Chicks start Ground School training with the trike (without its wing) when they are just a few days old.

Try This! Journaling Question
  • How do this year's events compare with the same events for last year's chicks in the new Eastern flock? For comparison, see: 2007 Timeline Events.

A costumed pilot drives the trike around the outside of the circle pen with the little chick safely inside."Robo-crane" drops mealworms to encourage the little chick to follow the plane as it drives around the fence in a circle.

Photo H. Ray, WCEP


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).