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Date: June 29, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Bev Paulan

Subject:

The Latest from the Chick Crew

Location:

Maryland

Late June in Maryland can be brutally hot and it sure has been exactly that these past few days. We have been arriving at 0530 to get the training done before it gets too hot, but even by 0730, the birds are panting and we are dripping under our costumes.

Training is going well with Cohort 2 a nice cohesive unit. 724 is still the obnoxious one in the group, trying his darnedest to annoy all the other birds with a quick peck when in close proximity. 718, my oh-so laid back dude is always leading the pack during trike training and has a very distinctive gait so, even if I can't see his band color, I always know its him.

We haven't been training 721 the last couple of days, as he developed a limp the on Tuesday night. Nothing serious though, just a bruised toe. He will be right as rain in plenty of time for this coming Tuesday's shipment to Necedah.

The official make-up of Cohort 2 is: 716, 717, 718, 721, 722 and the little brat, 724. 723 is still having leg issues, but hopefully will make it out with Cohort 3. Luckily he is a very happy bird, has never been too aggressive, so he should blend in nicely with his much smaller brethren.

Cohort 3, therefore, will consist of 723,726,727,730,733 and 735. I think 726 suffers from ADD. Anytime we walk the bird, he wanders off chasing this bug and that, and will not follow the costume. We have started training him alone so he won't corrupt 727 and 730 with whom he had been training.

733 and 735 had been training together, but 735 decided he was very afraid of 733 -whose worst sin was looking at him, - ("Mom, he's lookin' at me!")) and would run off and hide. Fortunately we have plenty of time and plenty of love to give this little scaredy-cat before they are scheduled to go to Wisconsin.

It suddenly got very quiet here this afternoon. Since Cohort 2 is leaving on Tuesday, Brooke, Megan and Nate left today to drive to Necedah. Their help has been invaluable this season. The interns took to crane husbandry like they have been doing it for ever (and we know Brooke has been). They worked extremely hard under tough conditions and did anything we asked them to do. I know I speak for everyone here at Patuxent when I say thank you to them for their hard work and dedication. Now maybe they can get some much needed rest!

We also said goodbye to Carl yesterday. Carl was truly a god-send and was able to get the youngest chicks to eat and drink long before anyone else could. He has a special gift of patience, and would stay with a chick as long as was needed. He makes Job look impatient!

Carl worked very hard, not only with the chicks, but also with preparing the White Series pens, mowing, filling holes in the fields so we could all walk easier, and came up with some very innovative ideas for making our lives here at PWRC much easier. Thank you, Carl, for everything you did to help. We sure wish you were coming to Necedah with us.

Date: June 28, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Chris Gullikson

Subject:

Training Update

Location:

Wisconsin

Training has been progressing smoothly and we have been able to train each morning for the past week with the wingless trike. This morning the birds were introduced to the trike with the wing on it for the first time.

Ideally we like to have calm winds with an overcast sky so the wing does not cast a shadow and it stays still. We had those conditions today, so I eagerly headed out for the airport and climbed into my flying machine and flew out over the beautiful Necedah Refuge.

As usual, 101 was standing on the runway and bugled his part of the unison call at my arrival. As I taxied up to the pen, Robert Doyle opened the doors to let the young birds out for their morning exercise.

The look in their eyes this morning was a mix of surprise and curiosity as they stared up at the giant wing over the trike. We enticed the birds over to the trike with treats of mealworms, grapes, and their favorite, smelt. For the next half hour we just sat under the wing of the trike feeding out treats, getting the chicks used to the wing and encouraging them to stand underneath it and poke and prod at the fabric and tubes.

Most of the birds took to the wing quite well, with number 703 being the most wary of the new arrival. Smelt is a magical tool and soon even he was poking and prodding at the wing along with the rest.

After the birds were sufficiently acclimatized to the wing, I led them on a short taxi run down the runway. They followed well with their wings outstretched; feeling for the light wind that was now building from the north.

As I turned the trike around, the birds close to the wing ducked as it passed over them. After giving out a few more treats, we headed back for the pen and all eight birds gladly walked thru the doors and out into the wet pen where they will forage for the rest of the day.


View the photo here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 28, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

We have a HERO!

Location:

Main Office

We were notified late yesterday that Walter Sturgeon, who we nominated as a Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund Conservation Hero, was selected for the award.

A hero is defined as a legendary figure endowed of great strength and ability. While the term has often been applied to the members of the OM Team, none really take the accolade seriously. Yet the Team itself does have its own heroes - and Walter Sturgeon, OM's volunteer extraordinaire is on the top of our list.

We at Operation Migration are in awe of Walter, not only for his vast and varied conservation work and experience, but because each year he leaves his wife Gay, the comforts of home, and his paying job as Assistant Director of the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences behind him, to spend 30 to 60+ days squished up in a tiny trailer on migration with us - cheerfully doing every'‘dogsbody' job we throw at him.

Add to this his two decades of involvement with the International Wild Waterfowl Association; 15 years as a Trustee (and Past President) of the Whooping Crane Conservation Association; his current work as Board Chair of the Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and Eco-Center; the time and energy he devotes to giving presentations to spread the word of bird and habitat conservation, and…and…and….

The Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund Conservation Hero folks told us, "We were so very inspired by Walter’s commitment to conservation and we send our congratulations," sentiments that we OM'ersecho.

Walter once told us that volunteering for OM affords him the opportunity to combine his lifetime of interest in birds, aviculture, conservation and public education, with adventure – and in his words – "A chance to make a difference that will affect future generations."

As a Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund Conservation Hero, Walter has been recognized as making a difference – and not just for future generations, but also for ours.

We couldn’t be more proud of Walter or more pleased for him.

(Walter will receive a plaque in recognition of his accomplishments along with a $1,000 cash award.)

Date: June 26, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

 You helped before - will you help out again?

Location:

Main Office

Earlier in the year we asked you to help us build a list of television stations for us to send our video public service announcements (PSA) to. Many of you responded. With your help, we were able to place our PSAs in front of viewers in more than 40 different media markets.

Now we've developed PSAs for the print media, and once again are coming to you for your help to spread the word and build awareness for OM and the plight of the Whooping crane.

Because you know better than anyone what local newspapers papers, magazines, periodicals, or other publications there are in your community, we hope you will be willing to do a little spade work for us.

What's involved? Just a call or an email to any print media/publication that serves your locale asking for the name of the person to whom PSAs should be directed, and their contact information. We've even created a little form to make collecting the information and sending it to us as easy as pie.

As knowledge equals understanding, and understanding engenders support, public awareness is key. We're looking for contact information for publications from right across North America. We want to gain the attention of the whole continent! (We're nothing if not ambitious.)

This is a huge project for our little organization, one we can't possibly do without your help. You helped out before – will you help out again?

Date: June 26, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

 Eastern Migratory Population Update

Location:

Main Office

This update was compiled from data provided by Richard Urbanek (USFWS), Stacey Kerley (ICF), and Nicole Frey. Thanks go to Windway Aviation/pilot Charles Koehler, and to Sara Zimorski (ICF) and Lara Fondow (USFWS) for additional tracking assistance.

In the highlights below, * = female; DAR = direct autumn release; NFT = non functional transmitter. Estimated size of the Eastern Migratory Population (EMP) at the end of the week was 58 individuals, 33 males and 25 females, with 55 birds
in Wisconsin, 2 in Michigan, and 1 in New York.

Michigan
-     516 has not been located since leaving Ingham County June 12.
-     DAR533* has not been located since June 11 on an aerial survey of Van Buren County.

New York
-     309* continues to use multiple sites in Lewis County.

Missing (suspected dead)
-     202* was last recorded March 13 entering Georgia on migration with mate 101.

Wisconsin Notes
-     209*NFTand 416NFT: Had not been located since May 27 but were found on an aerial survey June 25.
-     213 and 218* observed nest building on the refuge on June 21 but there was no reproduction-related activity.
-     307NFT may have been the crane observed on East Rynearson Pool June 24.
-     415*NFT hasn’t been found since June 7.
-     524NFT was believed to be the crane seen at Sprague Pool during the week.
-     Wild601* remained on the refuge associating most often with 412, but also 403 and DAR628.
-     107*NFT has not been located since March 29 in Adams County.
-     503 and 507* were last recorded in Wood County May 26
-     506 was last recorded in the Mill Bluff area May 10
-     201*, 310 and 501* also have non functional transmitters

Date: June 25, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

 Dry, Hot Weather Affects Florida Whooping cranes

Location:

Main Office

In an email about the Florida non-migratory population, Marty Folk said, "As with last year, this summer's rains have  been few and far between. As a result, wetlands have not made any headway on getting re-hydrated, in fact some are actually getting drier.

Marty sent along photos taken
yesterday by Jeannette Parker of a chick and its parents 1291 and 898. He said that Jeannette noted where they are is really dry. There is mud all around their next platform and even the chick is muddy. She told Marty that the family 'looked hot' and they had no shade. Their chick found some however under the lilies.

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 22, 2007 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

 Class of 2007 Shrinks Again

Location:

Main Office

We've lost yet another chick. Bev advised that 731 developed severe hock rotation and was euthanized yesterday. With one foot starting to point backwards, there were suspicions it may have somehow also acquired an injury.

Bev told us they were watching 723 very closely as its legs are beginning to resemble those of 702. As a result of cowed hocks which made walking painful, that chick was euthanized in early June. The crew is swimming 723 and hopefully the exercise will help.

Cohort 2, which is scheduled to be shipped July 3rd, will consist of 716, 717, 718, 720, 721, 722, 724, and 723 if its condition improves. Cohort 3 will be made up of 726, 727, 730, 733 and 735 and their ship date is set for July 18th.

With the loss of 702 there will be no representation from the San Antonio Zoo, TX in the Class of 2007, and, 727 is the only surviving chick from ACRES in New Orleans, LA. The Calgary Zoo is well represented with chicks 703, 706, 712, 713, 722, and 724.

The rest of the chicks are all from the Patuxent captive breeding population with the exception of 709 which came to us from the Florida non-migratory flock, and 717 which was hatched from the egg removed from the nest of pair 213/218* at Necedah.

Date: June 22, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

 Kudos to Georgia DNR

Location:

Main Office

More than 200 species of birds were identified by young birders in a recent youth birding competition coordinated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). The second annual competition saw a hundred 4 to 18 year olds canvassing the state in an attempt to identify the highest number of species, by sight or by song, in a 24 hour period.

 

Designed to encourage an interest in birds and their habitats among young Georgians, the event culminated in a banquet and awards ceremony at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, GA

 

"The awards ceremony was a wonderful tribute to a young and growing group of Georgia birders," said WRD Wildlife Biologist Tim Keyes, the competition's coordinator. "The skills and knowledge developed and demonstrated throughout the competition were truly inspiring, and represented thousands of hours of studying books and recordings as well as observing birds in their natural settings. Participants are finding and identifying far more species of birds in a day than most adults will recognize in a lifetime," said Keyes.

 

The competition also had a voluntary fundraising component. Teams could chose to raise money on a per-bird or lump sum basis to support their chosen conservation organization. Winning the award for "The Most Money Raised for Conservation" was Team Kestrels from Athens, GA. (see Entry 1 of June 21st)
 

Whether they won anything or not, the important thing was that 100 youngsters spent time outside, observing, enjoying, and learning from Georgia's wonderful wildlife. Tim said if their enthusiasm is any indication, many of the participants will continue birding throughout the year.

 

"Some incredible birds were found this year, including Yellow-headed Blackbird, Swallow-tailed Kite, Least Bittern, and American Bittern," said Keyes. "One team even saw a Bald Eagle eating a Great Egret!"

 

To help the participants learn the birds of Georgia, organizers paired pre-registered teams with experienced birding mentors. Mentors and teams met throughout the year and participants learned how to identify birds by sight and sound.

 

Also deserving of acknowledgement are the supporters of the Youth Birding Competition. They included The Environmental Resources Network, Inc, Georgia DNR/WRD, Atlanta Audubon Society, Droll Yankee Bird Feeders, and the Georgia Ornithological Society and Eagle Optics (both awesome OM supporters).

Date: June 22, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

 Vi's WhooperThon Rocks!

Location:

Main Office

Back in April we announced that Vi White (of migration trivia fame) proposed to hold her own WhooperThon to raise funds for Operation Migration. With the support of friends, neighbors, and anyone else Vi could sweet talk into making a pledge, behind her, she took to the field on the designated bird spotting day.

A few days before Whooperthon Day, Vi went out to where she planned to do her bird count to check things out. She emailed to tell us she had seen only two blue-gray gnatcatchers - eeek! The site was rather near Lake Michigan and the temps there had been much lower than inland and she said she was worried. She needn’t have been.

Though the weather for WhooperThon Day also turned out to be less than ideal, it didn't deter Vi or the birds. And the result of her efforts, thanks to a match from a very special donor, added a whopping (or whooping) $3,400 to the coffers!

To all those who pledged their support, and to the generous anonymous donor of the matching funds we send our heartfelt thanks. And we send a rousing 'three cheers' to the amazing Vi White and her able teammates, daughters Ellen Savage and Lynn O'Connor.

Date: June 21, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Chris Gullikson

Subject:

First training secession with cohort 1 at Necedah 

Location:

Necedah NWR

This morning we re-introduced the 8 chicks of cohort one to the wingless trike. As Richard pulled up to the doors of the north training site, Robert and I could hear their excited peeping in response to the engines noise.

Our old nemesis, number 101 was on hand as usual, doing his solo part of the unison call (his mate number 202 is unfortunately missing and presumed dead). We hung out around the trike for a few minutes, giving out a few treats and allowing the birds to poke and prod at the aircraft. While Richard pulled the trike down the runway with the birds in tow, Robert and I hung back and kept a careful eye on number 101 in case he decided to become aggressive. After a lap up and down the runway, Richard gave the pull start a tug and the engine roared to life. The chicks showed no fear as expected and he proceeded to lead them on a short jaunt down the runway.

After their short training session, we led them back into the pen and they eagerly went out into the wet pen to get a drink and forage for critters. We will leave them out in the wet pen today, sneaking out to check on them a couple times during the day.

Today's chores include continuing to get the south site ready for the 2nd cohort. We will be working with the Necedah staff pounding down the fence poles of the wet pen. The winter ice pushes the poles up out of the mud and we need to sink them back down and get the chain link fence buried to keep predators out.

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 21, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Georgia Craniac Kids

Location:

Main Office

We recently received a letter from Gwen Bailey of Athens, Georgia. Enclosed with the letter were several checks totaling more than $500, and the story of two Craniac Kids. Gwen wrote:

"These donations were raised by Adrian Tasistro-Hart and Elliott Radcliffe. The boys participated in a Youth Birding Competition on April 28th and 29th, sponsored by the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Georgia. As part of this event, the boys took in donations and pledges based on the number bird species they identified in a 24 hour period. They chose to raise money for Operation Migration after hearing at talk and seeing a slide show on your program given at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society."

To both of these enthusiastic Craniac Kids we send a big ‘thank you’ from the whole OM team.

Date: June 20, 2007 - Entry 5 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Location:

Main Office

While driving back north from International Migratory Bird day at Disney's Animal Kingdom this past May, Joe and I stopped off in North Carolina to visit with OM volunteer and Craniac extraordinaire, Walter Sturgeon and his wife Gay. In addition to his position as Assistant Director at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh (where you must visit if you have the chance), Walter works with many aviculturists and volunteers with a number of ornithological organizations.

Currently the President of the Sylvan-Heights Eco-center and Waterfowl Park in Scotland Neck, NC, Walter proudly, (and rightly so) took us on a tour of the recently opened facility. The park is home to more than 3,000 birds representing 170 species from 5 of the 7 continents. Their surroundings are re-creations of their natural habitats, and the design and layout of the park and the bird displays allow you 'up close and personal' viewing.
 

Above: View of the 'Multi National' pond at the rear of the beautiful building housing the reception area, gift and coffee shop, and park offices.

Below: Standing on the bridge leading to the Breeding Center, Walter explains (to Liz) the plans for the still untouched areas of the park.

Above: Lots of opportunity for amazing photos.

Far Right: Layout of the Park

Park co-founders, directors, and aviculturists Mike and Ali Lubbock, have devoted their life to safeguarding many species of waterfowl, and their passion for birds is evident in every detail of the park. What is more, they are passing on their zeal and knowledge to an army of young people, volunteers, and interns from around the world.

Sylvan Heights offers special education programs for children of all ages, a playground, and a coffee and gift shop. The Eco-center is the perfect destination for a day trip for those near-by, and is worthy of the trip for those further away. 

Why not think about doing what Joe and I did and combine a visit to Sylvan Heights with a visit to the Museum of Natural Sciences? Admittedly there’s a couple of hours drive between them, but who cares with the beautiful countryside inbetween to enjoy. 

What are you waiting for? Plan your a visit.

Date: June 20, 2007 - Entry 4 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Father Goose Honored

Location:

Main Office

Bill Lishman (aka Father Goose), one of OM's co-founders and Past Chair of our Board, was recently elected a member, Fellow International of the Explorers Club.

Headquartered in New York, the Explorers Club is an
international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research, and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. Since it was founded in 1904 the Club has served as a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide.

Bill was nominated by Dr William Sladen of Warrenton Virginia. Dr. Sladen, himself a winner of the club’s highest honor, was a founding member of OM's Board of Directors, and played an important role in the initiation of ultralight-led bird migration.

We congratulate Bill as he joins an illustrious list of Explorer Club members including such famous personages as Robert Perry, Edmund Hillary, Chuck Yeager, and John Glen.

Date: June 20, 2007 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

New Definition of 'Craniac'

Location:

Main Office

Over the past school year many teachers wrote to us with stories of Craniac Kids making a difference, and of what they were doing to help Operation Migration and Whooping cranes.

Their passion for conservation is heartening, and inevitably, in each case, the students' activities had a big impact in their own communities. There is seemingly no end to their, or their teachers' creativity when it comes to fundraising. One in particular had us chuckling and chortling.

Mike Duren of Middleton High School in Wisconsin has followed our work for many years. He has taken students to watch flyovers several times, and follows our website daily. In the spring of 2007 he decided to help raise funds for OM and so made a proposition to his high school classes.

Mike told them he would shave off his beard – which he's had 'forever', if they could fundraise $1,000 for Operation Migration. The students came back with, "What will you do if we raise more than $1,000?" Without batting an eye, Mike said he would also shave his head.

Obviously, the opportunity to cause your teacher to shave his much beloved beard let alone his head doesn't come along every day. Need we say that the students raised more than $1,000? They raised $2060 in fact; enough to sponsor 10 MileMaker miles!

The students rose to Mike’s challenge, and below are some photos of him living up to his end of the bargain. A beardless, bald Mike gives 'Craniac' a whole new meaning! Many thanks to Mike and the students at Middleton High. We can only imagine how much fun all of you must have had.


View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 20, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Chick pics

Location:

Main Office

Early this morning Bev sent along two chick photos for us to add to the Class of 2007 page.

Left is 714.

Right is 733 bathed in the glow of the heat lamp.

Date: June 20, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Welcome to Necedah

Location:

Main Office

Health Team leader Dr. Barry Hartup emailed to let us know that all 8 chicks in Cohort 1 suffered no ill effects from their flight yesterday from Maryland to Wisconsin. This was confirmed by Richard van Heuvelen by phone yesterday afternoon, and again last evening in an email from Chris Gullikson.

Chris also sent along two photos to share with our FJ readers. Just look at how our little chicks have grown!

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 19, 2007 - Entry 4 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

Good News and Bad News

Location:

Main Office

Reintroducing endangered Whooping cranes is like walking in sand. For every step you take forward there is a certain amount of backwards slippage and progress is slow.

On the forward step:
Eight young-of-year Whooping crane chicks arrived at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge today in the first of three shipments. All were healthy, if not somewhat confused as the sliding doors of their specially designed crates closed in Maryland and opened onto the wetlands of Wisconsin.

This precious cargo was handled with gentle care by two pilots from Windway Capital. Stew Walker and Tom Trester flew to
Baltimore Airport last night and left early this morning with the eight crated chicks. They arrived at Necedah Airport at noon and landed in strong crosswinds. This is the 18th round trip flight Windway has made in their ten passenger, turbo-prop, Cessna Caravan. With the cost of fuel and operations, this is a major commitment to Whooping crane conservation, and typical of the generosity of Terry Kohler and Windway Capital.

All of the birds were examined by veterinarians from the International Crane Foundation and certified healthy. After a day or two to recover from their ordeal they will begin training with the aircraft again.

On the backward slide.
Between the crane ecology team at Patuxent and the five people OM has helping them, there has been a Herculean effort this year to increase the number of birds prepared for release. Each chick has to be nurtured, fed, trained and socialized individually, and if we hope for 24, we need to start with a lot more.

Despite the effort, it looks like we’ll have 21 chicks this season if we’re lucky. Unfortunately we lost a few more today.

Number 715 was euthanized as it suffered from the same
parasite as 704 - the Acanthocephalen worm.

Number 725 had a problem with its toes and a deformed beak. This misalignment did not allow it to forage or eat and it was only getting worse.

Number 734 had scoliosis which leads to respiratory problems.

Before the chicks are moved to Necedah they are socialized and, for the most part, all getting along. They are trained as a group and the daily work load is only a fraction of the effort it takes to hatch and prepare them at Patuxent. In less than a month all the birds will have been moved for another season and the crew at Patuxent can take a much needed breather – but not for long.

In 1945 there were 18 birds in the Wood Buffalo/Aransas flock and 3 in Louisiana for an all-time world-population low of only 21 individuals. After all the effort I guess
we should be thankful for the 21 we will have this year alone.

At the very least walking in sand is good for your feet.

Date: June 19, 2007 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

The Florida Non-Migratory Flock Report

Location:

Main Office

Marty Folk of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sent us a report about a new chick in the non-migratory flock. We thought it was a good example of how dedicated his team is to the recovery of the species so we are posting it word for word.  

If I were to write a headline for this update,  it might read "Biologists go to great lengths (literally) to protect whooper chick."

On Friday, 15 June we discovered Pair 1291/898 had hatched a chick in rural Leesburg (see photo by Jeannette Parker taken yesterday). The nest marsh is separated from a distant feeding area by a busy 4-lane highway. Normally the parents would fly to the feeding area, but with a chick, we have concerns that they will eventually try to walk there (and encounter the busy highway).

On Saturday we erected 675 linear feet of "barrier" fence between the nest marsh and the highway, in an effort to prevent the family from walking into harm's way. We used 375 feet of 40-inch tall plastic garden fencing (1 inch mesh) and 300 feet of "silt fence" as a "chick-proof barrier".  Hopefully, even if the parents hop over the fence, the chick will remain on the safe side and prevent all from walking to the highway.

We feel there are enough resources in and near the nest marsh for raising a chick-so keeping them from walking to the distant foraging area should not limit their ability to raise the chick.

The family is in suboptimal habitat, but the female is a good parent and so far the male is doing well also. We've had some rain, but in Lake County, where the drought seems most severe, the marshes are still dry. This pair is nesting in a small lake that normally would be unavailable to cranes due to deep water. The lake is privately owned and we expect little to no human traffic.

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 19, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Eastern Migratory Population Weekly Update

Location:

Main Office

This update was compiled from data provided by Richard Urbanek (USFWS), Stacey Kerley (ICF), and Nicole Frey. Thanks go to Windway Aviation/pilot Mike Frakes, and to Sara Zimorski (ICF) and Lara Fondow (USFWS) for additional tracking assistance.

In the highlights below, * = female; DAR = direct autumn release; NFT = non functional transmitter. Estimated size of the Eastern Migratory Population (EMP) at the end of the week was 58 individuals (33 males and 25 females).

Michigan

516

left Ingham County June 12. No subsequent reports have been received.

DAR533*

with 13 Sandhills in Van Buren County where she is believed to have been for the past month.

New York

309*

on multiple sites in Lewis County.

Missing (suspected dead)

202*

last recorded March 13 entering Georgia with mate 101 on migration.

On Necedah National Wildlife Refuge

101

216

312*/316

412

512

105

301*/311

313*/318

508

514

205

303*/217

401

509

524

211/217*

307

403

510*

W601*

213/218*

310/501*NFT

408/519*

511

DAR628

In Wisconsin – Core Area

102*

with Sandhills in Adams County

201*/306

306 was alone near Meadow Valley SWA. Last observed with 201* June 9.

209*/416

not detected. Last recorded in Monroe County May27.

212/419*

Wood County.

402

Mill Bluff area.

407/502*

Meadow Valley Flowage.

415*

last observed June 7 foraging with two Sandhills in Adams County. NFT

505

with Sandhills in the Mill Bluff area.

520*

Jackson County.

DAR532

a few miles off NNWR.

DAR627

with Sandhills a few miles off NNWR.

In Wisconsin - Outside Core Area

420*

last detected June 6 near Chippewa County Forest.

DAR527*

with Sandhills in Winnebago County.

DAR528*

with large numbers of Sandhills inClark/Marathon Counties.

Earlier Recorded in Wisconsin but Current Location Unknown

107*

last observed March 29 in Adams County. NFT.

503/507

last recorded May 26 in Wood County.

506

last recorded May 10 at Mill Bluff .

Date: June 19, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

It's 'Moving Day #1'

Location:

Main Office

By shortly after 7 this morning, the chicks in Cohort 1 were crated and on their way to Baltimore airport. Once there, they will be loaded into an aircraft supplied by Windway Capital for the several hour flight to Wisconsin. Making the trip today are chicks 703, 706, 707, 709, 710, 712, 713, and 714.

Greeting them on the runway at Necedah's airstrip fronting OM's hangar will be Richard van Heuvelen, Chris Gullikson, and Patuxent aviculturalist Robert Doyle. The crates will be unloaded from the aircraft and placed in an air conditioned van for the slow 6 mile drive to the pen site on the refuge. There, the health team led by Dr. Barry Hartup will check each bird over as it emerges from its crate before it is released into its new surroundings.

We hope to have a report later in the day from Richard and Chris on how things went.

Date: June 18, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Looking For Little Known Facts

Location:

Main Office

During migration we post daily updates to make sure our Craniacs are kept in the know. We've also posted interesting facts about the states and the locales we travel through, and from what you’ve told us, you like to read these too.

Last migration season, supporter Vi White volunteered to collected interesting facts of history, science, or just the plain unusual, and we received many emails expressing enjoyment and appreciation for her efforts. This coming autumn we’d like to continue featuring trivia, but this time we’re going to give YOU a chance to contribute.

If you know any interesting/unusual trivia about any area that our planes and cranes will fly through, over, or near during the 2007 migration, please email it, (along with your name and city/state so we can give you credit) to
trivia@operationmigration.org. Your trivia submissions will go to our editor-in-chief Vi, who will review and prepare them for posting in the Field Journal.

Our ability to post all submissions will depend of course on the number we receive. But remember, if your trivia doesn’t appear in 2007's journal we’ll hold on to it – there's always the next migration season.

Lastly, a word about size. From 50 to 120 words is about right. What does that look like? Paragraph two above has 51 words; paragraph two and three combined has 114.

Okay folks, here's your chance to 'be published'. Let us hear from you!

Date: June 18, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Announcing a New OM Team Member

Location:

Main Office

Welcome James Popham, the newest addition to the OM team. James recently completed his probationary period, and assumes the position of Office/Fundraising Assistant.

As most of you know, for Joe, Chris and I, just keeping our heads above water is a continual struggle. And, because Joe and I are away so much for presentations, events, and migration, we are not only constantly playing 'catch-up', Chris falls behind too as she tries to single-handedly hold the office together.

Always being overwhelmed with the day-to-day functions means none of us are able to focus enough time on the all important tasks of grant writing, fundraising, and developing relationships that could result in corporate support. Seems we never have enough time to put out all the forest fires, much less plant any new trees.

Each year, despite the loyalty and generosity of you, our supporters, we struggle to make budget. This fiscal uncertainty takes a heavy toll on all of us, and jeopardizes the project and the birds. Now, thanks to Terry Kohler (of Windway Capital fame) and a grant from the Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust Fund, OM has received two years funding for an Office/Fundraising Assistant.

With the addition of another staff member we are confident we will be able to accomplish more, make a positive impact on our bottom line, and hopefully, build our organization past its hand to mouth existence. Having the position funded for two years should allow us time to develop new friends/contacts, and for our fundraising efforts to mature.

Note: A photo of James, his bio, and also those of Chris Danilko and volunteer George McCubbin have now been added to the ‘Meet Our Team’ page.

Date: June 16, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Bev Paulan

Subject:

Moving Right Along.....

Location:

Maryland

Things here at PWRC seem to move at hyper-speed. From one day to the next a chick will grow, visibly, to the point that when I take a day or two off, I don't recognize chicks that I have been working with closely. And then, heaven forbid, they move the birds on me and it's like I'm starting all over again trying to find my way.

Yesterday, we moved 716, 717, and 718 out to the White Series pens permanently. This has opened up three spots in the propagation building aviary for the three remaining chicks at the chick building. In one fell swoop our lives will become tremendously easier. No more hourly hikes up the hill to tend to the little ones. In the course of just 6 weeks, we have gone from insanity to being somewhat in control. Its a great feeling, and by the end of the day, we will all be sighing a huge sigh of relief.

To move the birds, though, is quite involved, and will take the better part of the day. We first draw out a plan as to where the birds who are currently residing in the prop building have to go. We also have quarantined pens we have to worry about (from the ‘sick’ chicks) and can't put little ones in those. Then we lock all the birds out, clean, and move the chicks to the outside runs first before letting them back in.

We have to move feeders, puppets, water buckets/jugs and clipboards containing records. We put clean carpets in the pens for the little chicks, and place clean water jugs on small raised stands for them. And if we're not so neat doing that, we have to vacuum the rugs to get up any loose bedding so it doesn't get in their eyes.

On the outside run gate there are colored, numbered bands for each bird that also have to be moved as the bird moves. This is most definitely a team effort and is usually done rather efficiently.

After all that, we go get the chicks from the chick building, hood them, and carry them down to the pen in an air-conditioned van. This also involves grabbing records, brood models, and puppets, and takes several people. So, even though we are consolidating things, it takes a lot of time and work. But it pays off in the long run and the effort will make life easier tomorrow.

I think I can see that light at the end of the tunnel. And no, it's not a train!
 

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 15, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Comment on the Unusual Mortality Report

Location:

Main Office

Having to deal with the mortality report brought back a flood of less than happy thoughts and memories. Then we received a touching and encouraging note from Lee Barclay, Supervisor of the USF&WS Field Office in Tennessee. We thought that you, our supporters, who we know feel the weight of this loss as much as we do, would be also be buoyed by his observations.

The WCEP Unusual Mortality Report is clear, professional, and very well done. Kudos to those involved in its development. Although the mortality event was a tragedy that saddens all of us even today, the report underscores the dedication of project staff and the leaders among the various organizations in this unprecedented conservation partnership to restore Whooping cranes to eastern North America.

The challenges ahead are great, but I believe that those involved are up to the task! I remain ever hopeful, and look forward to seeing that flock of 18 flying together again once my time on this earth has ended.
Best to all –
Lee Barclay.

Date: June 15, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

Unusual Mortality Report

Location:

Main Office

Between the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, the International Recovery Team, OM and all the Captive Breeding Centers there is a tremendous amount of crane expertise involved in this project.

The Project Direction Team capitalized on that advantage when investigating the loss of 17 birds earlier this year. The discussions were long, arduous, and sometime heated, but in the end we arrived at a consensus and the findings were released today.

The “Review of Unusual Mortality” document lists the conditions at the time of the storm like tide levels, winds, lightning strikes and staffing. It documents what actions were taken and examines the evidence derived from the necropsies. It also makes recommendations for changes to the protocol and facilities at Chassahowitzka to help safeguards the birds in the future.

The Chassahowitzka site has worked well for many years. Its primary shortcoming is the fact that there are so many of our older birds stopping in at the end of their migration. They often interfere with the chicks, dominating their food source and chasing them out of the protection of the open-topped pen.


The cure for this antagonism is to move the chicks into a top-netted pen. Once the free food and the targets of their aggression are removed, they often move on to greener pastures. However, top netted pens have their own hazards. If a predator breached the pen, it could go on a killing frenzy; disease is more easily spread in a limited area; and, as in this case, confined birds are more susceptible to lightning strikes and high water.

Among other things, the Unusual Mortality document proposes:
·    Finding alternate ways of dealing with the aggression of older birds.
·    Ensuring the chicks are released at the first sign of bad weather.
·    Moving the top-netted pen to higher ground.
·    Designing automatic gate openers that release during high winds or high water.
·    And investigating lightning protection systems.

The team will also attempt to identify a new wintering site for the future generations of birds that we lead south - which presents its own set of problems. Any new site could harbour unknown hazards so it might be a case of, ‘Better the Devil You Know’.

A new site could have more local predators or, could suffer the same fate as Chassahowitzka and have too many older generation birds stopping in after its first use. One idea proposed was to split the flock next year, with half going to Chass and the other half to another site. If you will excuse the term, this would avoid our having ‘all of our eggs in one basket’, and allow us to test the changes at Chass and a new site without endangering all the birds
.

The Winter Management Strategy Committee, a new WCEP subcommittee, has been established to look for new sites and to implement the changes at Chassahowitzka. It will report to the WCEP Project Direction Team and we will report to you.

A complete copy of The Review of the Unusual Mortality of 17 juvenile Whooping Cranes on February 1 & 2, 2007 will be posted soon at www.bringbackthecranes.org.

Date: June 13, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Chick Update

Location:

Main Office

There's not a lot of new news out of Patuxent these days. Bev says socialization and conditioning are going pretty well, and the chick crew continues to squeeze in as much training as possible each day.

They will get a little relief when Cohort 1 is shipped to Necedah on June 19th. Arrangements for the flight (thanks to Windway Capital) from Baltimore to Necedah  are in place, and the 'reception party' of vets and OM crew are lined up too.

Though we can’t be sure right up until shipping time, as of now, Cohort 1 will have 8 chicks in it: 703, 706, 707, 709, 710, 712, 713, and 714.

715 has come down with the same parasite that infected 704 and 708. Dr. Olsen is treating this chick differently from the others however. He put the chick on food and water restrictions and has been administering special fluids and medications. Bev said he looked really unwell yesterday, but that today he was up walking around and both looked and seemed much better.

To see all the photos we have so far and bits and pieces about them and their personalities, visit Class of 2007 Bios

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 13, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Happy Surprize at Necedah

Location:

Main Office

A Whooping crane with a non-functional transmitter was spotted yesterday morning by intern Nicole Frey (ICF) on West Rynearson Pool at the Necedah NWR.

The bird was accompanied by DAR628, and the two cranes moved to Carter-Woggon Pool. The color bands were not readable at either site. Mid evening, the same bird was again observed on West Rynearson Pool but alone, and was able to be identified.

Dr. Richard Urbanek said, "We identified the bird as being 524. He was last confirmed alive in Levy County, FL on February 16th, and we suspected that he was dead. His associate, 523 was the victim of presumed alligator predation at that location."

The homecoming of 524 returns the number of birds in the Eastern Migratory Population to 58. This is up one from the total of 57 recent reports have listed.

View the photo here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 12, 2007 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

OM Honored with Partners In Flight Award

Location:

Main Office

Operation Migration has been chosen by Partners n Flight (PIF) to receive a national award for its contributions toward bird conservation.

On accepting the award on Operation Migration's behalf , CEO Joe Duff said, "As much as this award is given in recognition of OM's work to safeguard the endangered Whooping crane, it also underscores the the leadership and support Operation Migration and the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership receives from US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Partners in Flight, a consortium of organizations, natural resource agencies, businesses, industry associations, landowners, foundations, universities, and individual citizens, is committed to maintaining healthy bird populations in the United States and throughout the western hemisphere.

PIF's goal is to maintain stable populations, and enhance or restore declining populations of migratory and resident wild, land birds. They work to raise awareness of the value of migratory birds and the need for their protection. PIF believes that the most economically and scientifically sound approach to bird conservation is to protect migratory birds before they become endangered.

Our sincere thanks go to supporter Marti Kie of California who put in the time and effort to prepare OM’s nomination for this award.

View the photo here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 12, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Eastern Migratory Population Update

Location:

Main Office

This update was compiled from data provided by Richard Urbanek (USFWS), Stacey Kerley (ICF), and Nicole Frey. Thanks go to Windway Aviation/pilot Mike Frakes, and to Sara Zimorski (ICF) for additional tracking assistance.

In the highlights below, * = female; DAR = direct autumn release; NFT = non functional transmitter. Estimated size of the Eastern Migratory Population (EMP) at the end of the week was 57 individuals (32 males and 25 females): 54 in Wisconsin, 2 in Michigan, and1 in New York.

Missing Birds (suspected dead)
- 202* last recorded on March 13 as she and her mate, 101, entered Georgia on the first day of spring migration.
- 524 last observed with his associate, 523 in Levy County, FL February 16.

New York
- 309* remained in Lewis County.

Michigan
- DAR 533* was observed during an aerial survey on June 11. She was with13 Sandhill cranes on a wetland in Van Buren County.
- 516 remained in Ingham County where he has been for several weeks.

Date: June 12, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Hooray for George!

Location:

Main Office

OM volunteer George McCubbin 'took silver' in the Sustainable Living category of the 2007 Canadian Environment Awards (CEA). George was presented with a plaque and his $2,500 prize when he and his wife Shirley attended the celebration ceremony June 4th in Montreal, Quebec.

Presented in six categories, the awards are designed to recognize the commitment of Canadians who are helping to protect, preserve and restore the country’s environment.

Paula Prociuk Blacklock, Managing Director of the Awards, said, "For the past six years, the Canadian Environment Awards has celebrated exceptional individuals and groups who are working to develop sustainable strategies to protect Canada’s biodiversity. Our winners are an inspiration to the rest of the country and their stories will resonate from coast to coast."

The residents of George's Lindsay, Ontario community aren't the only ones benefiting from his ideas, efforts, and advocacy for eco-efficiencies. The Whooping cranes in the Class of 2007 will benefit too as George has

Congratulations George! We are so proud of you – and very grateful for the $2,500 donation, not to mention all you already do to help OM.


View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 11, 2007 - Entry 4 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Egg Swap Fails

Location:

Main Office

Over the weekend, the egg being incubated by 303* and 317 was swapped for an egg from the captive population at ICF.

Aviculturists from ICF along with Dr. Richard Urbanek (USF&WS) went to the nest site to make the swap. The male, who was incubating the egg at the time, was flushed from the nest, and both adults left the area.

ICF staff switched the eggs, but after several hours the adult pair still hadn't returned to the nest. The staff then switched the captive egg for a dummy egg and took the good egg back to ICF as hatch was imminent. Once hatched, this chick will be one of the birds in the Direct Autumn Release program (DAR) as it was originally intended to be before the plan to do a swap was adopted.

The egg produced by 303* and 317 was taken back to ICF and tested and turned out to not be viable.

WCEP geneticist, Ken Jones, points out that high levels of inbreeding (sib-sib matings) are known to produce a decline in hatchability and survivability in many species of birds. He stresses the importance of conserving and not watering down genetic diversity, as it directly correlates with population strength and future reproductive fitness.

View the photo here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 11, 2007 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Class of 2007 Chick Chart

Location:

Main Office

With the last egg to hatch producing 735, the Class of 2007 is now complete. At 24 chicks, this year's Class is the largest ever. The Chick Chart showing chick numbers, egg source and hatch dates is below.

LEGEND

SAZ San Antonio Zoo
CZ Calgary Zoo
PWRC Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
FNMP Florida Non-Migratory Population
EMP Eastern Migratory Population
ACRES Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species

#

FROM

HATCHED

GENDER

701

Sandhill

 

 

702

SAZ

18 April

 

703

CZ

29 April

 

704

PWRC

1 May

 

705

CZ

1 May

 

706

CZ

1 May

 

707

PWRC

2 May

 

708

FNMP

3 May

 

709

FNMP

5 May

 

710

PWRC

7 May

 

711

PWRC

8 May

 

712

CZ

9 May

 

713

CZ

10May

 

714

PWRC

10 May

715

CZ

15 May

F

716

PWRC

16 May

F

717

EMP

16 May

F

718

PWRC

17May

 

719

PWRC

18 May

 

720

PWRC

19 May

 

721

PWRC

21 May

F

722

CZ

21 May

F

723

PWRC

22 May

724

CZ

22 May

725

ACRES

24 May

 

726

PWRC

25 May

F

727

ACRES

27 May

F

728

Sandhill

   

729

Sandhill

   

730

PWRC

2 June

 

731

PWRC

5 June

 

732

PWRC

7 June

 

733

PWRC

8 June

 

734

PWRC

9 June

 

735

PWRC

9 June

 

-

PWRC

Died in the egg

 

Date: June 11, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Craniac Kids

Location:

Main Office

We love hearing about the creative ideas Craniac Kids have come up with to spread the word about Operation Migration and to help Whooping cranes. Recently we received emails from two classes, each with a very different approach.

 

Ms. Lori Trout's class at John F. Kennedy Montessori School in Louisville, KY manufactured and decorated a wonderful quilt. It is adorned with hand-drawn pictures and words of support for the OM team.

 

In St. Louis, MO Ms. Laurie Johnston and her class of 3rd grade gifted students at Truman Elementary put together an illustrated cookbook. Entitled Recipes to Whoop For!, it includes recipes for humans and for birds! They then sold the cookbooks to raise funds for OM. The result - $1550 raised! We’re looking forward to trying some of the recipes - the human ones, of course!

Ms. Terry Peraino’s fourth-grade class at Isaac Fox School in Illinois decided to recently 'remember the Class of 2006' by spread awareness of OM’s project and raising funds to help. This class of intrepid Craniac Kids organized and ran a charity garage sale, and their story was picked up by the local newspaper.

Many thanks again to Ms. Trout's, Ms. Johnston's and Ms. Peraino’s classes. These terrific students are helping to ensure that there will be Whooping cranes for future generations of young Craniacs.

Date: June 11, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

More Chicks Hatch

Location:

Main Office

Intern Megan Kennedy emailed to let us know that on Saturday evening Dr. Glen Olsen assisted 734 to hatch, and 735 hatched on its own sometime during the night. As soon as the chick crew has time to catch their breath, we will get them to fill in the gaps in our chick records so we can update and post the Class of 2007's Chick Chart.

Date: June 10, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

Overview Update

Location:

Main Office

On reading the field reports from Bev and the others you could assume that things are especially tough at Patuxent right now, but in truth, this is a normal breeding season. The process of propagation in Whooping cranes evolved over millions of years and was shaped by very specific conditions. Exactly replicating those measures in captivity is a discipline that is half science and half art. Attempting to predict the number of eggs that will hatch; chicks that will survive; and juveniles that will be shipped to Wisconsin, is more experience than sorcery, but just barely.

This year at the Whooping Crane Recovery Team meetings we asked for 24 birds for the coming season. It's a tall order to fill and a lot to ask of the Crane Ecology Team at Patuxent. Roughly 20% of the eggs that are laid don't hatch, and 20% of the chicks that hatch, don't survive. In round numbers that means you need 38 eggs - to get 30 chicks - to get 24 to ship. And, it all has to happen within a specific time frame so the age range is not too wide.

When crane chicks hatch they won't socialize with others so they have to individually be taught to eat and drink. They must be watched closely, cared for constantly, and introduced to the sound of the ultralight almost immediately.

Each exercise sortie or training session lasts about 30 minutes or more. During the day it is generally too hot to work with the chicks outside, so training is often confined to mornings and evenings, with the blistering part of the day reserved for grass cutting, pen maintenance, aircraft repairs, and the myriad other things that must get done.

The math is simple. Multiply our current number of chicks – 22 by 30 minutes – everyday, plus everything else. OM has 5 staff at Patuxent to help out, but the work load is still extreme. Despite the expertise and heroic efforts, recent mortalities have reduced the numbers once again and our hope is now for 23 chicks at best.

There was a plan to send one egg to Wisconsin to be swapped with a wild egg of unacceptable lineage but that idea has been abandoned. Instead 2 eggs will from ICF will be used for the egg swap. Hopefully by Monday we will have news of how the transaction went.

If there are one or two wild eggs in the nest they will be euthanized and necropsied. The Recovery Team and WCEP weighed all the alternatives and decided in the end that it was the only option. Despite high demand, there are no facilities ready to accommodate a display bird let alone two.

Bringing these eggs or chicks into one of the breeding centers, exposes their entire captive flock to the risk of disease. Releasing them into the wild will have a long term impact as
Whooping crane chicks produced from full sibling pairs will dramatically lower the genetic diversity of the wild flock. If they grow up to breed, offspring from full sibling pairs will have reduced hatchabilityand survivability due to inbreeding.

Very little genetic material was left when only 21 Whooping cranes existed. Some birds are more prolific than others and it doesn’t take long before one family begins to outnumber the rest. The incubating sibling pair 303* and 317 are already part of that over represented lineage and adding their inbred offspring only makes it worse.

If a large percentage of the flock is from one family there is a greater chance that random breeding will result in even more sibling pairs and greater loss of genetic diversity. Leaving these eggs in the wild or releasing them into another flock will increased the odds of a population collapse. It is a hard decision but it is the right one.

Date: June 9, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Bev Paulan

Subject:

Class of 2007 news

Location:

Maryland

As Yogi Berra said, "It's deja-vu all over again."  Yesterday morning, after trying many different treatments with no success, the decision was made to euthanize 708. As if that wasn't bad enough, 732, which was assisted in hatching out yesterday, was also euthanized due to severe scoliosis. Not fun, I say.

Had enough? I certainly have. But unfortunately there's more. When Brian Clauss was checking the remaining four eggs, one, which was kicking and peeping yesterday, was still and silent. That means there are only three left to hatch to fill out the remainder of the Class of 2007.

All that aside, yesterday was a lot like every other day as of late. The chicks were trained, swum, walked, and socialized. I got to spend the better part of the afternoon with the Cohort 1 as they were all put together at the ponded pen for the first time.

I was there to supervise in case one of the bigger chicks decided to play rough with one of the smaller guys. Little did I know it would be the small guy, 713, who would be standing up, literally, to all the others. What he lacks in stature, he makes up for in attitude. It was quite comical watching him stare up at a larger bird, who in reality was sitting down. Even when it stood up 713 wasn't deterred. No sir! It just seemed to egg him on and made him stand even taller.

I sat and watched as
most of the chicks took baths, waded or sat in the water or foraged. After a while, they all seemed to meander over to where I sat. Before I knew it I had 8 chicks all sitting or lying within arms reach. My buddy, 706 lie closest, once again nuzzling my arm. 710 seemed entranced by his reflection in my face mask, while another chick pecked at my costume from the rear. Oh, feel the love! It was actually very serene and I found solace in the little ones as they preened, dozed and chirped their contentment.

Finally, we have sex! Gender of the birds I mean. The sexing results are in. But I will qualify this by saying that even though one could assume that because a chick is not female it would be male. We don’t assume this because we are not sure all samples were tested. So, to be on the safe side I will just say that the following chicks are female: 714, 715, 716, 717, 721, 722, 726, and 727.

To round out the day we welcomed 733. So as one life ends another begins and we hope for the best.

Date: June 8, 2007 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

Things Change Fast

Location:

Main Office

Things happen at rapid fire pace during a busy breeding season. Beverly just called to tell us that numbers 708 and 732 had to be euthanized. 732 was an assisted hatch and it developed scoliosis. 708's critical condition worsened and euthanasia was the only humane choice.

Of the five eggs that we told you were left to hatch (see Entry 2 below) Bev advised that one that was active yesterday now appears to be quiet. As a result, the egg that was earmarked for the egg swap at Necedah will be held back to maintain numbers in the ultralight flock.

If all goes well, no more losses are suffered, and all the remaining eggs all hatch perfectly, the Class of 2007 will consist of 23 chicks. Keep your fingers crossed.

Date: June 8, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

Cow hocks, Egg Calls, and Egg Swaps

Location:

Main Office

Cow Hocks -
Birds have a joint half way up their leg that looks like a backwards knee and it's known as the hock. In truth, it is really the bird's ankle. Unlike us, they walk on their toes, and the metatarsus bones that make up our foot are fused together and form what looks like their lower leg. So what some people call the foot is actually their toes - and the lower leg is really the foot. The hock is the ankle and their knees are at the top of the legs hidden in the feathers. Their hips are high up just below and aft of the wings and all the joints work in the same direction as ours. (For a visual of what Joe is describing, scroll down to Entry 1 for June 7th and look at the photo of 703 and 706.)

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.



Whooping cranes are tall birds but mostly they're all legs. While they are growing, a delicate balance must be maintained between the rate at which they gain weight and the amount of exercise they get.

There are other factors involved too, like what substrate they are standing on, how much protein there is in their food, and how much of that food they actually eat. If the balance isn’t perfect, they can develop a malformation in the leg called hock rotation and the leg begins to turn out.

The vets and aviculturists at Patuxent watch closely for this common condition. Chicks that display the tell tale signs get lots of extra care. They get additional exercise by swimming in the big pool and their food intake is closely monitored.

Many times the condition can be corrected, but sometime no amount of extra care helps. Number 702 had rotation in both legs making him cow hocked. That meant that his hocks crossed when he tried to walk. 702 was removed from the study today and euthanized to end his suffering.

Egg Calls -
At this time of year the flock managers of all the propagation centers, and Tom Stehn, the US Whooping Crane Coordinator, have weekly conference calls (egg calls). They discuss natural pairing, egg swapping, artificial insemination, and other tactics to ensure a productive season and optimal use of all the genetic material available.

At the last count Patuxent had 20 healthy chicks for the ultralight-led program with five fertile eggs yet to hatch. Our request was for 24 birds and we should be at least close to that target. At ICF there are 6 healthy DAR chicks and 8 fertile eggs. They asked for 10 to 12 and that goal too looks attainable.

Egg Swap -
At Necedah we still have one incubating pair, 303 and 317. The monitoring team can't get close enough to actually see the eggs without causing a disturbance, so they’re going on the behaviour of the parents who have been diligently sitting on their nest since mid May. The problem is that 303 and 317 are a sibling pair and are also from an over represented lineage. In fact the geneticist on the team suggested that adding their offspring to the flock would have a negative impact on the population.

So now we have a real quandary. A wild-hatched bird is the best way to build the numbers of our flock. It’s the process we ultimately hope for. Natural parents are better at introducing birds into the wild than either the ultralight or DAR method, but not if the end result is detrimental to the survival of the species.

One option is to swap 303 and 317’s eggs out with genetically viable eggs from the captive flock. This was discussed on the last egg call. One egg will be removed from the ultralight program and shipped to ICF where it will be added to two others taken from the DAR project. Timing is critical. It is hoped that this close to hatching, the parents will be more attentive and less affected by the disturbance.

Having a pool of three '‘swap' eggs with slightly different hatch times will give the team more options at decision time. They will approach the wild nest, likely by canoe, and safely flush the parents. If there is one egg in the nest, they will replace only it. If there are two, they’ll swap them both. The nest will be monitored from a safe distance and within a few days the chick or chicks should hatch.

The procedure is not without risk, but not as perilous as all the hazards faced by chicks using the ultralight or the DAR techniques, and we will learn something in the process. We’ll know if we can use eggs swapping in the future to manipulate the Eastern Migratory Population’s demographic, and, if it can be accomplished without disturbing the incubation instinct. The swap is planned for the weekend or early next week. We will keep you posted.

Date: June 8, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

eBay Auction Wrap-up

Location:

Main Office

We send our thanks to everyone who participated in Operation Migration's inaugural eBay auctions through MissionFish. In addition to raising funds, the two month auction presented OM with an opportunity for broad exposure via a site that attracts millions of people from around the world.

Proceeds from the 80 items auctioned over the 8 week period brought in nearly $3000. Some of the highlights include -
Number of bids:                  More than 1000!
Most auctions at one time:   32
Best bargain:                      Victor Bahktin print
Best seller:                         Whooping crane quilted wall hanging

It was fun getting some unique merchandise out into the Craniac community – much of it handcrafted by creative and generous OM supporters. Their participation, and yours, helped to make our first eBay event a success. Special thanks to Gerald Murphy, OM supporter and migration crew volunteer. Gerald not only planted the seed for an eBay with us, he also solicited the donation of many of the auction items.

Date: June 7, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

'Road Trip'

Location:

Main Office

It’s been a while since I wrote an update and I can feel the stares burning into my back from Liz’s desk across the room. It is June already, and the first of three shipments of chicks from Patuxent to Necedah is scheduled for the 19th. What happened to May, or April for that matter?

Most of May involved a whirlwind road trip that began with an invitation to participate in the International Migratory Bird Day celebrations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We picked up our truck and aircraft trailer at Chassahowitzka. (thanks to refuge manager, Jim Kraus for letting us store it there since January) and set up one of our trikes at Conservation Station early in the morning before the crowds arrived.

Scott Tidmus, Disney’s Zoological Manager and Special Events Manager, Alex McMichel, both spent the day with us greeting guests. The US Fish and Wildlife Service was represented by Chuck Underwood from the Jacksonville office, and supporters, Mark and Peggy Chenoweth took free pictures of kids sitting in the trike. The entire Disney Park is beautiful this time of year and our aircraft was framed with flowers at the entrance to the Conservation Station.

Dr. Beth Stevens is VP of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. One morning before the park opened she hosted a presentation for all of her managers in one of their large theatres. We were invited to talk about the Whooping crane project and the Disney connection - which wasn’t difficult. Their Wildlife Conservation Fund has supported us from the beginning. They provide health care for any sick or injured Whooping crane in the southern region, and their staff has volunteered to help build pens for wintering birds.

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

After a presentation to Windemere Elementary School whose Grade 5 students raised $1,113 for Operation Migration, we headed north pulling the big trailer. We stopped for an evening presentation at the Jacksonville Zoo, and Manager Donna Bear-Hull took us to see their new pair of display Whooping cranes.

We gave a presentation at the St Johns Country Day School in Jacksonville and thanked students there who raised $1000. From there we headed to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit with Walter Sturgeon, Assistant Curator of the Museum of Natural Sciences and one of our greatest volunteers.

View the photo here in the 2007 Summer photo journal. Walt is a trustee and past president of the Whooping Crane Conservation Association, The International Wild Waterfowl Association, and is chairman of the Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and Eco-Center.

He has also raised cranes for 30 years, and between his duties at the Museum, his trips to the Arctic and his archaeological digs in Montana, he finds time to join us on the migration as part of our ground crew and as a bird handler.

Next we headed for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to present to the Appalachian Audubon Society, then south again to visit Patuxent and get some new footage of the chicks in training. While in the DC area we met with George Petrides, founder of the Wild Birds Center franchise. We also had a meeting with several departments within National Geographic before heading home to Canada.

It's no wonder the time flies.

Date: June 7, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Bev Paulan

Subject:

Chick Update

Location:

Maryland

As the days progress and the X’s on the fill the calendar page, there is a tendency to lose track of time. One day blends into the next and the only way of really knowing that time is passing is the size of the chicks. Days start at dawn with training.

We are now training more birds at a time because we are putting the chicks together to form the cohorts. This makes for fewer training sessions per morning, but the rodeo that ensues trying to put each chick back in its proper pen takes extra time.

703,706,707,709,710,712,713 and 714 are now officially Cohort 1. The have trained together three times with great success.

You notice there is no 702 or 708 in this group. As Liz mentioned in yesterday's entry, 702 was euthanized. This chick had developed severe leg issues and could no longer support itself. It was heart breaking to watch the bird stand and walk. As much as we knew there were no other options, it hurt to lose this bird.

Dr. Olsen came into the prop building and from the look on his face, I knew he had come to do this distasteful job. Barb Clauss and Jane Chandler went to pick the bird up from his outdoor pen while I played doorman. As Barb held 702 ‘football-style’, with legs outstretched in front of her and his neck and head being gently supported by Jane behind her, Dr. Olsen first took a blood sample from the chick’s neck.

After handing me the serum filled tubes to turn, he filled his syringe with whatever drug puts the bird ‘to sleep’. With Jane still holding his head, Dr. Olsen injected the drug into his neck. After only a moment - which seemed an eternity - the bird’s neck went limp. Barb tucked his legs under him and Jane placed his head on his back in the typical sleeping position. Barb cradled the bird in her arms as she gently stroked him while we all shed tears of sadness.

After a few more moments Dr. Olsen listened for a heartbeat, and hearing none, he simply nodded to Barb as he walked out of the room. Barb handed the now still chick to Brooke while she got a bag and a tag. I placed the bag around the chick and as Brooke let go, held him close to me. Barb took him from me to give to Dr Olsen for the necropsy as I stood, immobilized with emotion. He was a very happy bird, always chirping, goofing, and until his leg problems developed, running and playing. We will miss him.

708 is in critical condition due to an as yet undiagnosed condition. X-rays taken last night showed an inflamed bowel. He is being treated with antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory and pain medication. Besides the bowel problem he is not eating or drinking and losing weight. He also has an injured leg which doesn't allow him to get up. Dr. Olsen says the prognosis is guarded and further evaluation will be made tomorrow morning after close monitoring all day and night.

Pre-shipping health checks began yesterday on Cohort 1 and they will continue tomorrow. Anticipated shipping date for Cohort 1 is June 19th.

Socializing the younger birds continues as we try to test out personalities for Cohort 2. So far it looks like chicks 715 to 724 will make up this group. 715, 716, 717 and 718 are all being walked and trained together. 721 and 723 are paired up, (both these were ‘sick’ chicks and couldn't be put with a healthy chick). 722 and 724 are paired as are 721 and 723. All are very well behaved and act like best buds, although 724 tends to get ‘pecky’ at 722.

Tomorrow we plan on introducing these pairs to each other for their first walk, and then the day after, we should be able to start training them together. Training has started for 725, 726 and 727 with the hope that in the next couple of days we can start pairing them up.

And on a final, happy note, 732 hatched out this morning.

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

Date: June 6, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Nathan Hurst

Subject:

Chick Update from our New Intern

Location:

Maryland

For those of you wondering what it's like around here, until Sunday it was hot and humid. Then it was just breezy and extremely humid - that is, it rained. If you were here, you'd see people running around in costumes that appear to be a cross between a beekeeper and the bio-hazard experts from E.T.

Monday, in spite of the rain, we took numbers 702, 703 and 706 to the White series pond for the day, and they spent the night out there. They'll get used to roosting in water, and have extra opportunity to socialize before moving to Necedah. This also helps space wise because it frees up room for other chicks in the propagation building.

702 and 703 are starting to get white feathers, and 702 even has some black primaries. It's sad to watch 702 walk though. With every step his hocks bump each other, they hurt him and he has bruises as a result. (As noted in today’s Entry 1, 702 is being pulled from the program and humanely euthanized.)

722 has been moved out of the Crane Chick Building (CCB) to where some of the older chicks are in the propagation building. This made space for little number 730 in the CCB. I think the crane chicks, especially the little ones, sound a lot like crickets.

The pre-shipping exams for Cohort 1 are being done today.

Date: June 6, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Brief Chick Update

Location:

Main Office

A quick note with some chick news. Bev promises to send an update tomorrow. She told us that due to severe leg problems, 702 has been scheduled to be euthanized.

Nathan said, It seems like weeks instead of days that 708 has had a sign over his video monitor saying – Am I eating?” Apparently he hasn’t been, not even mealworms. Nathan said he couldn’t get him to take a single step to get on the scale to be weighed this morning. 708 had an x-ray this afternoon to try and determine what’s wrong.

Welcome to little 731 who hatched out late yesterday. He is from a Patuxent egg.

Correction: In Entry 2 for June 2nd we reported the hatch of 728. A chick hatched - but it's number wasn't 728. It was 730. Numbers 728 and 729 were Sandhills Patuxent hatched and included in their numbering sequence.

Date: June 5, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

704 Necropsy Results

Location:

Main Office

Patuxent's Dr. Glen Olsen sent us the results today of the necropsy performed on 704. The chick had developed acute peritonitis from a ruptured intestine caused by a parasite called an Acanthocephalen worm.

Acanthocephalens, one of several endoparasites found in cranes, are spiny headed worms. They occasionally cause perforation of the intestines which can lead to peritonitis and subsequent death in crane chicks. The earthworm is a suspected intermediate host for this parasite, and no known treatment is available.

Date: June 5, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Eastern Migratory Population Update

Location:

Main Office

This update was compiled from data provided by Richard Urbanek (USFWS), Stacey Kerley (ICF), and N. Frey. Thanks go to Lara Fondow (USFWS) for tracking assistance.

In the highlights below, * = female; DAR = direct autumn release; NFT = non functional transmitter. Estimated size of the Eastern Migratory Population (EMP) at the end of the week was 57 individuals (32 males and 25 females): 54 in Wisconsin, 2 in Michigan, and1 in New York.

Missing Birds (suspected dead)
- 202* last recorded on March 13 as she and her mate, 101, entered Georgia on the first day of spring migration.
- 524 last observed with his associate, 523 in Levy County, FL February 16.

New York
- 309* remained mainly in Lewis County.

Michigan
- DAR 533* continued to remain in southwestern Michigan. The expected battery life of her PTT has been expended, an no readings have been received since May 25th.
- 516 was reported in a flooded field in Ingham County as of June 4. He was last reported in Lorian County, OH May 12th.

Wisconsin Notes
- 303* and 317 continued incubating on the Necedah NWR. They had re-nested. Incubation began May 14th. (There are no other active nests.)
- 201* and 306 remained on Meadow Valley SWA during the week but no reproductive activity was observed.
- First Family parents 211 and 217* remained on their territory on or near eastern East Rynearson Pool (ERP) throughout the week. They were observed copulating May31 but no other reproductive activity was noted. At least one of the birds began molting June 1st.
- 213 and 218* (parents of 717 in the ultralight Class of 2007) usually foraged and roosted on the refuge, sometimes near Site 2. No reproductive activity was noted.
-401 and 508* returned to the refuge May 30 from an undetermined location. On June 1st, 508* separated from 401 and joined 216.
- Wild 601* moved from East Rynearson Pool to Sprague Pool May27 but returned to her former location May 30. She joined 412 on the east DU Unit May 31, and on June 1 DAR628 joined them.

Not Found
- 107*NFT was last observed in Adams County on an aerial survey Marcy 29th.
- 307 was not detected during the week. His transmitter began failing in early May.
-  A Whooping crane believed to be 415*NFT was observed May 24 in Adams County foraging with Sandhills.
- 503 and 507* were last recorded in Wood County May 26.
- 506 was last recorded in the Mill Bluff area May 10.
- 209* and 416 have not been detected since May 27 in Monroe.
-  216 remained on Sprague Pool or Pool 13 during the week. He was associated with 519* until May 29 when she left him to join 408. On June 1st, 216 was joined by 508*.
-420* was not checked during the week. She was last observed alone in Chippewa County (the same summering area used in 2006) during an aerial survey on May 21.
- 209* and 416 have not been detected since May 27 in Monroe County.
- 318 (Michigan bird) has been on the refuge since completing his migration May 27. As of May 29th he has been associating with 313*.

Date: June 4, 2007 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Florida Non-Migratory Population Update

Location:

Main Office

This just in from Marty Folk, Biological Scientist with the Florida Fish & Conservation Commission.

"Whooping crane pair, 1291 and 898* are nesting near Leesburg, in Lake County, FL. A long-term 'Leesburg resident, 898 raised 3 chicks to fledging with her mate, 800, who died November 2006.

Recently, 898 paired with 1291, an inexperienced 5 year old male and they are incubating. 1291 broke his left tarsus in 2003 but it healed in the wild.

This nest initiation comes relatively late in the season, but it is not the latest ever nesting date. If their eggs hatch however, the hatch date will be the latest within a breeding season.

Marsh water levels are extremely low due to the drought. Tropical Storm Barry only dropped about 1½ -2 inches of rain on the crane areas.

Date: June 4, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Wood Buffalo National Park - Whooping Crane Breeding Pair Survey Results

Location:

Main Office

Between May 16th and 23rd, Lea Craig-Moore, and Brian Johns, Wildlife Biologist and Whooping crane coordinator for the Canadian Wildlife Service, completed their breeding pair surveys on the cranes’ northern summering grounds.

"We found 62 nesting pairs of Whooping cranes which ties the record number set last year," said Brian. He reported that 57 of the pairs were within Wood Buffalo National Park, another 3 pairs were north of the park, and 2 pairs were nesting east of the park.

Brian noted, "During the surveys we also found 10 pairs of non-nesting cranes, for a total of 72 pairs, as well as several groups of 3 birds and lots of single sub-adults."

Commenting on the water situation in the park Brian said, "Considering the lower than normal snowfall over the winter, conditions are better than expected."

Date: June 4, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Celebrate World Environment Day Tomorrow

Location:

Main Office

Tomorrow, June 5th, 2007 marks the 35th annual celebration of World Environment Day (WED), an international event originally established by the United Nations General Assembly.

Because climate change has led to drastic effects around the world, putting many vital ecosystems and habitats at risk, the theme chosen for World Environment Day this year is, Melting Ice – A Hot Topic? With 11 of the warmest years in the past 125 occurring since 1990, the choice of theme is a timely one.

The annual celebration of WED serves to raise the world's awareness of the importance of conserving the Earth’s environment.

"Let us recognize the need to slow the momentum of the dramatic environmental changes we are seeing at the poles and around the globe," said Mr. Ban Ki-moon, President of the General Assembly. "And let each of us pledge to do our part to fight climate change."

For WED activities and ideas for spreading the message of conservation, visit www.unep.org/wed/2007/english/

Date: June 3, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

National Wildlife Refuge System Support

Location:

Main Office

As most readers know, OM is a strong supporter and advocate for the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS). Last week, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee proposed the largest increase in funding to the NWRSin history!

The Subcommittee, led by Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) and Ranking Member Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), heard the requests by thousands of Friends and concerned citizens nationwide by recommending $451 million for the 2008 fiscal year for the Refuge System's Operations & Maintenance Account.

It is extremely important to thank those who have supported the Refuge System, and to encourage them to continue their support.

There are two sets of individuals to recognize. First are the members of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, and second are the 80 members who signed a letter, led by the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus, urging the appropriators to fund the Refuge System at $451 million.

If your U.S. Representative is on either of the lists below, please take a moment to thank him or her for supporting this increase. You can reach your Representative instantly by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

house interior appropriations subcommittee members (*denotes Chair; RM denotes Ranking Member)

Norman D. Dicks* (WA)

Maurice D. Hinchey (NY)

John W. Olver (MA)

James P. Moran (VA)

Alan B. Mollohan (WV)

Tom Udall (NM)

Ben Chandler (KY)

Ed Pastor (AZ)

Dave Obey (WI), Ex Officio

Todd Tiahrt, RM (KS)

John E. Peterson (PA)

Ken Calvert (CA)

Jo Ann Emerson (MO)

Virgil H. Goode, Jr. (VA)

Jerry Lewis (CA)

u.s. representatives who signed letter supporting $451 million fy08 (* denotes Chair/Vice Chair of House Wildlife Refuge Caucus)

AR

Mike Ross

MA

Jim McGovern

OH

Dennis Kucinich

AZ

Raul Grijalva

 

Edward Markey

OK

Dan Boren

CA

Anna Eschoo

MD

Chris Van Hollen

OR

Darlene Hooley

 

Lois Capps

 

Wayne Gilchrest

 

Earl Blumenauer

 

George Miller

ME

Michael Michaud

 

Pete DeFazio

 

Mike Thompson

 

Tom Allen

 

David Wu

 

Ellen Tauscher

MI

John Conyers

PA

Todd Platts

 

Dennis Cardoza

 

John Dingell

 

Jim Gerlach

 

Jerry McNerny

 

Dale Kildee

 

Tim Holden

CO

Diane DeGette

MN

Keith Ellison

 

Chris Carney

 

Ed Perlmutter

 

Jim Ramstad

SC

Henry Brown

 

Mark Udall

 

Jim Obertar

SD

Stephanie Herseth

CT

Chris Murphy

MO

Emanuel Cleaver

TN

Bart Gordon

 

Chris Shays

 

William Lacy Clay

TX

Rubin Hinojosa

 

John Larson

NJ

Frank LoBiondo

 

Soloman Ortiz

DE

Michael Castle

 

Frank Pallone

VA

Tom Davis

FL

Vern Buchanan

 

Rush Holt

 

Jim Moran

 

Alcee Hastings

 

Jim Saxton

 

Rick Boucher

 

Robert Wexler

 

Donald Payne

WA

Jim McDermott

GU

Madeleine Bordallo

NM

Steve Pearce

 

Rick Larsen

HI

Neil Abercrombie

NY

Anthony Weiner

WI

Ron Kind

 

Mazie Hirono

 

Gary Ackerman

 

Tammy Baldwin

IA

Leonard Boswell

 

Randy Kuhl

 

Tom Petri

IN

Julia Carson

 

Jerrold Nadler

 

Gwen Moore

KS

Dennis Moore

 

Carolyn Maloney

WV

Nick Rahall

LA

Bobby Jindal

 

Eliot Engel

 

 

This is the first hurdle in the long appropriations race. Action will now move to the full Appropriations Committee as early as this week. If your Representative is a member of the Full Committee (see below), please take a moment and urge them to support the Interior Subcommittee's mark of $451 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System for 2008.  After a vote by the Full Committee, the bill will move to the floor of the House of Representatives and then to the Senate. You can reach your Representative instantly by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

members of the house appropriations committee (* denotes Chair, RM denotes Ranking Member)

AK

Marion Berry

IN

Peter J. Visclosky

OH

Marcy Kaptur

AL

Robert Cramer, Jr

KS

Todd Tiahrt

 

Ralph Regula

 

Robert B.Aderholt

KY

Ben Chandler

 

David L. Hobson

AZ

Ed Pastor

 

Harold Rogers

 

Tim Ryan

CA

Lucille Roybal-Allard

LA

Rodney Alexander

PA

Chaka Fattah

 

Barbara Lee

MA

John W. Olver

 

John P. Murtha

 

Sam Farr

MD

C.A Ruppersberger

 

John E. Peterson

 

Adam Schiff

MI

Carolyn Kilpatrick

RI

Patrick J. Kennedy

 

Michael Honda

 

Joe Knollenberg

TN

Zach Wamp

 

John T. Doolittle

MN

Betty McCollum

TX

Chet Edwards

 

Jerry Lewis, RM

MO

Jo Ann Emerson

 

Kay Granger

CT

Rosa L. DeLauro

MS

Roger F. Wicker

 

John A. Culberson

FL

Debbie Schultz

MT

Dennis R. Rehberg

 

Ciro Rodriguez

 

Allen Boyd

NC

David E. Price

 

John Carter

 

C.W. Bill Young

NJ

Steven R. Rothman

VA

Virgil H. Goode, Jr

 

Dave Weldon

 

Rodney Frelinghuysen

 

Frank R. Wolf

 

Ander Crenshaw

NM

Tom Udall

 

James P. Moran

GA

Jack Kingston

NY

Nita M. Lowey

WA

Norman D. Dicks

 

Sanford Bishop

 

José E. Serrano

WI

David R. Obey*

IA

Tom Latham

 

Maurice D. Hinchey

WV

Alan B. Mollohan

ID

Michael K. Simpson

 

Steve Israel

 

 

IL

Jesse Jackson, Jr

 

James T. Walsh

 

 

 

Ray LaHood

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Steven Kirk

 

 

 

 

Thank you for your ongoing support of the National Wildlife Refuge System. When we all speak together in a unified voice, we CAN make a difference!

Date: June 2, 2007 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Another Chick

Location:

Main Office

728 made its appearance this afternoon. It is from a Patuxent egg and it hatched out two days early.

Date: June 2, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Not Enough Funding For Bird Conservation?

Location:

Main Office

Article excerpted from the June 2007 BIRDING COMMUNITY E-BULLETIN (Authors: Paul J. Baicich and Wayne Petersen)

Recently, when bird conservationists have gone to Congress with proverbial hat in hand, the response has often been that "there is just not enough money to go around." This is because each appropriations subcommittee in Congress works under a finite spending cap. The result is that there is often unpleasant squabbling over insufficient slices from the same small pie.

This year might be different.

This year there may be more money to address some of our conservation concerns. On 17 May, Congress passed its fiscal year 2008 Budget Resolution that sets overall caps on various categories of spending within which the individual appropriations committees must operate. This included $31.94 billion for 'Function 300' which encompasses most natural resource and environmental spending. That's a $1.5 billion increase over last year and $3.1 billion more than the President's budget requested.

Indeed, the 'Function 300' increase means that there is more for the multiple issues of concern to bird conservationists, resulting in better potential distribution from that larger pie.

Some of these conservation-spending numbers passed their first important hurdle through a late May 'mark-up' in the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. They appear below in millions (m), after some Bird Conservation Funding Coalition (BCFC) or Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) requests, and last year's approved spending. 

PROGRAM

REQUESTED BCFC - CARE

APPROVED ’06

Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act

$5.5m

$4m - $5m

Migratory Bird Joint Ventures

$15.1m - $10.8m

$11.1m

Fish and Wildlife Science and Support

$29.52m - $26.94m

$27.94m

North American Wetlands Cons. Act

$50m - $39.4m

$42.6m

State Wildlife Grants

$85m - $67.5m

$85m

Forest Service International Programs

$8m - $6.9m

$8m

National Wildlife Refuge System, Operations & Maintenance

$451.5m - $395m

$451m

As the last listed numbers show, these all went up, some significantly. Further decisions on spending must go through the House Appropriations Committee, the full House, the Senate Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriation Subcommittee, and the full Senate. Still, indications are encouraging, as long as Congress hears from a concerned public.

Date: June 1, 2007 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Bev Paulan

Subject:

Chick Update

Location:

Maryland

Thank you to everyone who emailed the nice comments about my postings. The encouragement does help, and I will try to be better about keeping you up to date.

Yesterday and today have been extremely hot. We have been working around that heat to ensure the birds don't get stressed. The water looks awfully inviting when we are swimming the chicks. It takes all my will power to not jump in the pool with them! Lucky little fellas and gals.

We have been trying to socialize the older birds, as well as introduce the youngest chicks to the trike. 702, 703 and 706 spent all day today at the pond, and we checked on them via video monitor. They all did great, and every time we checked in, they were doing exactly what they were supposed to - foraging, preening, etc. In other words, being cranes.

707, 708 & 709 were introduced to the pen they will be staying in next. We take the time to let them explore the pen, learn where the water and food is, all while being carefully supervised. As I write this, 702, 703 and 706 are there getting the same supervised introduction.

710 and 714, now training buddies as well as siblings, are going to the pond this evening for the first time. Hopefully, in the next day or two, we can put all of these birds together as the official Cohort 1.

Yesterday we started socializing the younger chicks. Brooke and I took 715, 716, 717 and 718 for a walk and we could barely tell one from the other. They look so much alike, if it weren't for their colored bands we would have been putting the wrong chicks back in the wrong pens.

These four are very close in age, so therefore in size as well. They are all very cute (of course) and all get along great so far. We are also trike training them together and, they along with 712 and 713 will most likely be Cohort 2. We might add 721 and 722 to that group, but we need to get those two together first to see how personalities match. There is a big age spread in this group, so there will be quite the size difference between 713 (the largest) and 722.

We have started introducing 721, 722, 723 and 724 to the trike with varying results. 721 didn't take long to get over his initial fear, but 722 took us six sessions with two of us working with him to get him to follow even one lap. While Brooke started the trike, I would sit in the circle pen with the chick, trying to encourage it to eat mealworms, and give general comfort by my presence. This chick was a challenge, but this morning it finally followed for three laps, although lagging somewhat behind. 723 and 724 just got the trike’s engine revving, but did not seem overly afraid; about average with all the other chicks.

We're still swimming all the chicks under 21 days of age (protocol), unless they have leg issues. 707 is still being swum due to ‘cow hocks’, and it seems to be really helping. The chicks can develop leg problems if they gain too much weight too quickly, so besides making sure they get the proper amount of exercise, we weigh them daily and ration their food if necessary.

There is still training to be done tonight when the temperature cools off slightly. Maryland in the summer - ya gotta love it!

View the photos here in the 2007 Summer photo journal.

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