Countdown to Migration: September 17, 2010

Was it mischief, or eagerness? On Tuesday, two of the youngest crane kids sneaked right past the costumes and escaped to join the older birds for their training flight! Crane Quiz #2 asks four new questions, and this week's nonfiction story brings you to flight school with the chicks. What's about to change for the blue-eyed baby in the photo?

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week
Photo Sara Zimorski, ICF

Blue-eyed baby:
What's about to change?

Orientation & Welcome to New Participants

Latest Chick Chat: Mischief!

You remember that the oldest eight chicks (or now colts) moved into the pen of the youngest five a week ago. The pen was divided so they could work out their pecking order without hurting each other.

Are they ready to become one large group? By Tuesday, two of them clearly thought so! The divider was still up, but the team got a surprise when cohort one’s training flight suddenly had two extra birds. Chicks #10-10 and #17-10 somehow escaped past the costumed "guards" and flew for the entire 25 minutes with the older cohort! Pilot Richard and his ultralight plane led the 9 birds. (Cohort one was minus #5-10 because she didn’t exit the wet pen in time to make the flight.)

After Cohort two got their training flight with Brooke and his plane, all 13 birds met to forage and socialize in front of the pen. They mingled without all the jump-raking and charging of a week ago. That's progress! The whole group will take their first flight all together very soon. Each day is one day closer to migration, targeted for October 5. The chicks must practice flying as one group before the journey south.

Photo Trish Gallagher, Operation Migration

All 13 chicks are working out their "pecking order and getting along as a group. Soon they will fly together as a group.

Watch them fly!

Photo Heather Ray
This slow-motion video clip shows crane chicks in flight. What do you notice?

Journal: What about eye color?   Print Journey South Journals

Newly hatched young in many species have a different eye color than older birds do. After seeing this week's image of the week, think and then respond in your journal to this question:

“What advantages could a baby bird have from its eye color being different than the adults of the species?”

Meet the Flock: Crane Quiz #3 Print the Quiz 

How do the antics of the chicks give us reasons to laugh as well as to worry? 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:

"I'm very polite. Who am I?"
See our crane bio pages.

Slideshow/Booklet: "Off to Flight School: Finding Their Wings" Teacher Guide

Why are the chicks shipped all the way to Wisconsin after hatching in Maryland? What are two reasons why they must arrive in Wisconsin before they learn to fly?

For answers, view this week's selection as a Web slideshow or click on the matching booklet to print, fold, and take home to share.

This week's booklet
Web slide show version

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!

Get details about the 2010 Whooping Crane and Wildlife Festival in Necedah, Wisconsin.
Come to the Crane Festival September 18!
(Click for details)
We'll be back with more news next Friday: September 24, 2010.
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!