Countdown to Migration: September 10, 2010

Two groups became one! The oldest crane-kids flew behind the ultralight plane to move in with the five youngest birds on Sept. 9. (Why did the pilots do it that way?) Target date for migration is now October 5. Tackle four fun questions in Crane Quiz #2, and view this week's slideshow/booklet: "Who Am I? Imprinting."

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week
An adult and a chick are resting on their hocks on the grass  at Necedah NWR.

What do you see?

Photo Trish Gallagher, Operation Migration

Orientation & Welcome to New Participants

Latest Chick Chat: All in One Pen!

All 13 crane-kids are now at the same pen site! After many rainy or windy days, the weather yesterday (September 9) finally allowed Brooke and Richard to fly the older group of birds 1.7 miles to the pen site of the five younger cranes. All eight birds in the older group flew beautifully behind Brooke's ultralight plane. Pilot Richard flew above and behind in the “chase position.” The chase pilot keeps watch in case any birds break away or can’t keep up. (He and his plane can help them.) After the older eight were safely in the pen, the younger five got their chance to fly with the ultralight. Now all 13 are settled in the large pen with a fence dividing them. They need a few days to sort out their squabbles through the safety of the fence. Hope for good flying weather so training can continue!

Target Departure Date Now October 5
The October 1 target departure date has been changed to October 5. This gives the team more time to socialize the 13 birds into one group, and to organize the crew. Oct. 5 would still be the earliest migration departure ever.

Two Cohorts Combine!

Click to Gallery

Operation Migration’s video!

Migration Math
The shortest period between hatch and departure so far was in 2007. The youngest bird was 125 days old. This year, how old will the youngest bird be if departure is October 5?
Journal: Why move the oldest group to the youngest?   Print Journey South Journals

Joining the cohorts is an important step in the countdown to migration. Pilot Joe Duff: “The birds will face off through the fence that divides the pen and do a lot of posturing. We will train them separately but when they have each had their turn, we will let them both on the runway. They will pick fights and we’ll step in to stop the big ones. We will let them battle the small skirmishes so they can determine the new social order. Within a few days they will have it all worked out and we can remove the barrier in the pen. We will watch them a little longer to make sure there is no aggression. Then we will start training them together in one group. With week or two of good weather, we should be ready to start the migration!”

HOW the birds are moved together is important too.

Journal Question:
“Why do you think the oldest birds go to the home of the youngest birds instead of the other way around?”

Write your thoughts in your personal Journey South journal. Next week you can compare your ideas to those of pilot Joe Duff.

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

Meet the Flock: Crane Quiz #2 Print the Quiz 

Last week you learned that the age range is 25 days between the oldest and youngest ultra-chicks for 2010. Now we get to see how well the 13 will get a long together. In what ways are the chicks alike or different? Find out when you click on each photo to find the chick's "Baby Book" and life story, or bio page:

While you're on the bio pages, search for answers to four new questions in this week's Crane Quiz:

Which chick traveled by van instead of airplane to Wisconsin?

Which chicks traveled by van instead of airplane to Wisconsin? Find the answer is on our crane bio pages.

Booklet: "Who Am I? Imprinting" Teacher Guide

How do these chicks know they are Whooping cranes and not other kinds of birds? Find out how experts help these baby cranes imprint correctly on their species as they are being raised and trained.

Imprinting is the topic of this week's nonfiction photo story. View it as a Web slideshow or choose a matching booklet ready
to print, fold, and take home to share.

Read booklet or view slideshow about imprinting these baby Whooping cranes.

Printable booklet
Web slideshow version

Migration Mile-a-Thon: Fitness Fun Registration
Can you and your friends beat the cranes to their migration finish line in Florida by walking the same distance of 1285 miles? Can you go the distance before the cranes do? The Crane Class of 2010 and the folks at Operation Migration (who conduct the chicks' fall ultralight-led migration) challenge you to try! Each class or school completing the 1,285 miles will receive a Wildlife Hero Certificate, and each student participant will receive a special memento autographed by a migration team member. Find tips to get started and more.
Whooping Crane Festival: You're Invited! 

Are you lucky enough to live near central Wisconsin? If so, come to the Whooping Crane and Wildlife Festival on the grounds of Necedah Airport on September 18. This festive outdoor event on the grounds of Necedah Airport is everyone's chance to meet the 2010 migration team, see the ultralight planes, hear speakers, eat, shop—and watch for wild white whoopers flying overhead!

Get details about the 2010 Whooping Crane and Wildlife Festival in Necedah, Wisconsin.
Click for details
Countdown to Migration: Posted Fridays Bookmark the Whooping Crane Home Page

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 October 5 is revised target date), 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!

Learn about the movie that came before  this Whooping crane reintroduction project got started!
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!