Countdown to Migration: September 3, 2010

Four weeks from today, 13 young Whooping crane chicks born in May will take off on the longest journey of their young lives: a 1250-mile migration to a winter home in Florida. They are training in two separate groups, but that will soon change. Get to know the quirky 4-month-old crane-kids in Crane Quiz #1 and see slideshow, "Whooping Crane Comeback."

Today's Report Includes:

Practice makes perfect!
Photo Operation Migration

Orientation & Welcome to New Participants

Welcome: What's Ahead
Four weeks from today, 13 young Whooping crane chicks born in May will take off on the longest journey of their young lives: a 1250-mile migration to a winter home in Florida. Will they be ready? How long will it take for the journey south? The adventure will begin October 1 (weather permitting), and Journey South gives you a front-row seat and daily news. But first, for the next four Fridays we’ll Countdown to Migration with the latest chick chat, crane quiz questions about the Class of 2010, and a series of slideshows/booklets about this Whooping crane reintroduction. When the crane kids are ready, you will be too!

Photo Heather Ray, Operation Migration
Chick Chat: Two Groups Training

Right now the 13 chicks are living and training in two separate age groups called cohorts. They’ve been able to fly since they were 60-70 days old. The younger group is getting better at staying together in a group as they fly with the ultralight plane. Fewer birds drop out as they get stronger and discover the fun of flying. It’s best if they can practice flying every day, but Wisconsin’s late summer weather has been calm and clear (good for flying) only every three or four days. Team helper Barb is saddened by the looks of disappointment on their little faces when she checks the chicks on days they can’t fly! The next big step will be joining the two groups into one. We’ll hear about that next week!

See the chicks LIVE at Wisconsin Flight School with the Operation Migration CraneCam!

TEACHERS: You may wish to block your computer's pop-up ads before clicking to Crane Cam.

Meet the Flock: Crane Quiz #1 Print the Quiz 

Will any of this year's chicks remind you of people you know? Find out when you click on each photo to find the chick's "Baby Book" and life story, or bio page:

Now dig in, detectives! Search the bio pages for answers to four fun questions in Crane Quiz #1:

(The quiz page includes a link to answers.)

Crane #10-10 already has a nickname. Using clues in this photo, what would YOU call her?
Journal Question: New Numbers Journey South Journal

Each chick in the new Eastern Flock has a number as a lifelong name. The first part of the number tells the order in which the chick hatched last spring. It is followed by a dash and the number 10, which means their birth year of 2010. Here’s the first question to answer in your personal Journey South Journal:

“What does the number #1-10 tell you about a crane? Why might scientists use numbers instead of names?”

Teachers: Choose “Responding to Journal Questions” from our collection of Journey South journal pages.

Booklet: "Whooping Crane Comeback" Teacher Guide

It's been a busy week at the Wisconsin wildlife refuge where the chicks have "flight school." Who are these gangly and special young birds? What is that funny-looking flying machine? Who's inside those baggy white sacks?

Find answers in the first of six pre-migration booklets, a series starting this week. Plan on a different booklet each week to build background for the upcoming migration. Each booklet comes in a matching Web slide show as well as .pdf format ready to print, fold, and enjoy.

This week's booklet! .pdf
Web slide show version

Countdown to Migration: Posted Fridays

Weekly Summaries are posted (by email) to registered participants on FRIDAYS: Sep 3, 10, 17, 24; Oct 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Nov. 5, 12, 19— or until this year's newest "ultra-chicks" reach their winter home in Florida!

Pre-migration: Each Friday before migration, a brief e-mail notice gives current newsy tidbits and announces a downloadable booklet for building background knowledge.
During migration: When migration begins in October, the Friday e-mails will summarize the DAILY Highlight Updates that were posted on the Web during the week. You'll want to go to the Web for the latest maps, facts, photos, and fun!

What's the story behind this human-assisted migration? Find out here!
We'll be back with more news next Friday: September 10, 2010.
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!