Countdown to Migration: October 1, 2010

Five days to go! The chicks flew four days in a row this week, and this photo shows a way they're rewarded. Why give treats? The colts will be ready to go October 5, but will the weather? Will the team? See what must be done, and meet the team with new questions in this week's quiz.

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week
Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Why give treats?

Orientation & Welcome to New Participants

Latest Chick Chat: Ready, Set, Almost Time to Go

The birds flew four days in a row this week! They are building endurance, and just in time. Only five days remain until the target departure date of October 5.

The migration team has hustled to update two travel pens to hold the birds at night on migration, find supplies for both birds and people, grease wheel bearings, fill propane tanks, load bird feed and treats, pack personal gear, and more. Are they excited? Yes! (Meet the team, below, in this week's quiz.)

The migration covers about 1,285 miles in seven states. It's a grand adventure for birds only five months old. Will the migration depart in five days, as planned? The weather will decide. We’ll post a news flash and daily Web reports on Migration Day 1. Ready?

Adult Cranes Getting Restless
Pre-migration restlessness in wild birds shows that the birds know they will soon be leaving. They are feeding, fattening and fueling for the journey south ahead.

What are the flock's two new families doing? Click on the photos at right to find out!

Tracker Eva also reports that quite a few of the older birds have been moving around more recently. "Once the corn fields in the area get harvested, I would expect most of the birds to be using them. The sandhill cranes have started their fall staging; today I saw a very large flock standing on some cranberry property."

What makes this ultralight wing suitable to the young colts at this stage of their training? Click to find out.
Photo: Heather Ray, Operation Migration

Restless Family? Click to see what W1-10's family has been doing this week.

Ready to migrate? Click to see what W3-10's family has been doing this week.

Meet the Team: Crane Quiz #5 Print the Quiz 

How many kids can say their dad flies with Whooping cranes? Whose dog gets to come along on migration? You'll find out when you meet the dedicated team that will lead the chicks on their first journey south. Meet the team and find answers to five questions in this week's crane quiz:

Before they go, click to see the chicks LIVE on Operation Migration's CraneCam! You may also see costumed team members at work.

Journal: Why is pecking order important?   Print Journey South Journals

Cranes #16-10 and #17-10 caused a ruckus when the two cohorts mixed at first, but Geoff understands: "Imagine you and your brothers and sisters practically had a house all to yourself all summer long. You finally sorted out whose room is whose, and who’s the boss of whom. All of a sudden, strangers land, move into your house, and take up all your space. Then they tell you they’re the bosses of you! Wouldn’t YOU be a little peeved?"

This fall, the top chick seems to be #2-10. Chicks #1-10, #3-10 and #8-10 are keeping their higher ranks too. (See bio pages.) Why do you think some cranes work hard to be the boss, while others are satisfied not to?

This slideshow will help you respond to this week's discussion or journal question:

  • "How do you think the instinctive behavior to fit into a pecking order helps Whooping cranes survive?"

How do you think cranes show they want to be boss?


View Slideshow

Slideshow/Booklet: "Countdown to Migration" Teacher Guide

October 5 is the target date for the chicks' departure on the biggest adventure of their lives: their first journey south. The cranes just show up and fly, but the team has a lot to do! What’s on their job list right now? For the birds-in-training, finding the "sweet spot" is an important discovery. Why?

Find answers in “Countdown to Migration,” this week's nonfiction selection. View it as a Web slideshow or click on the booklet to print, fold, and take home to share.


This week's booklet
Web slideshow version

Join Mile-a-Thon: Fitness and Fun
Can you and your friends beat the cranes to their migration finish line in Florida by walking the same distance of 1,285 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 one of the migration team members. Find tips to get started, and more.
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!

What's the story behind this human-assisted migration?
Find out!

Daily on the Web: October 5, 2010 — or when the migration begins!
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!