Whooping Crane Countdown to Journey South 2011
Countdown to Migration: September 23, 2011

Target departure for migration is now October 8 and the colts are flying better each day. See how injured crane #1-11 proved he's on his way back. Play our Pecking Order game, tackle Craniac Quiz #4, and visit camp!

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week
Photo: Heather Ray
How many?

Orientation & Welcome
to New Participants

Chick Chat: Flying Together

Flight school continues at the new White River Marsh site, and the colts are catching on. On Sep. 20, nine cranes took off and flew about 10 minutes with the ultralight—with no dropouts. Two eager cranes flew even longer!

With migration now estimated for October 8, pilot Joe Duff says: "Even if we left tomorrow, there are seven birds that I am confident would make it to the first stopover." Despite the lack of any 30-minute flights, all the birds except for #1 are well prepared for migration: 15 days to go!

What did Jane see from the blind as she watched training September 17? Click for more.

Journal: Pecking Order  Journey South Journal

When crane #1-11 was injured and kept in isolation to heal, the team worried that the other birds would pick on him and he'd lose his high place in the flock's dominance order (pecking order). But #1 sent a clear signal this week when he won a staredown with another crane, who looked away first. Have you noticed that pecking order, or the urge to fit into social hierarchies, is also powerful in humans? Explore the importance and meaning of pecking order by playing this game, and then respond to this week's journal question.

Journal Questions:
Why is it a good sign that #1 has kept his position in the pecking order even though he was injured and still isn't back to flying? How do you think humans are alike or different from animals when it comes to social dominance?

Meet the Flock: Crane Quiz #4 Print the Quiz 

With migration just days away, how are the young cranes doing? Find out when you click on photos to read the chick's bio pages:

While you're on the bio pages, search for answers to this week's quiz questions:

Slideshow: "Life at Camp O.M."

About two weeks remain until migration starts! What important lessons are the chicks learning in flight school at Wisconsin's "Camp O.M."? (O.M. stands for Operation Migration and the team of experts who lead these captive-born cranes on their first migration.)

You already know the colts get report cards for their performance and behavior. How does the team keep them safer from predators? For answers, view this week's story as a Web slideshow or click on the matching booklet to print, fold, and take home to share.

Teaching Suggestions

Teachers: Book a Talk
Do you live near the migration route? Operation Migration invites Journey North teachers to reserve a live presentation by two volunteer crane educators for your classroom during fall migration. Please contact lizAToperationmigration.org (Replace AT with symbol.)
Countdown to Migration: Friday Updates Bookmark the Whooping Crane Home Page

Revised target departure date: October 8 from White River Marsh SWA near Berlin, Wisconsin

Pre-migration: Each Friday before migration, a brief e-mail notice provides the weekly summary,quiz questions, and the next slideshow to prepare you for migration.

During migration: When migration begins in October, new reports, maps, and fun facts are posted DAILY on the web. The Friday e-mails are quick summaries of the reports from that week. Stay with us for year 11 of this exciting conservation story!

Orientation & Welcome to New Participants

Watch morning flight school, or watch the crane-kids forage and poke in the mud or splash and flap in their pond. From training camp at White River Marsh State Wildlife Area, Operation Migration's CraneCam lets us see it all!

We'll be back with more news next Friday: September 30, 2011.
More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!