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Date: May 31, 2008 Reporter:

Bev Paulan

Subject: Training Update Location: Maryland

It's raining right now. The cats and dogs type of rain where even just a quick sprint across the compound leaves you drenched. And, as always, its a good news, bad news type of rain. The good news is that it is always needed, especially after the draught of last year. The bad news is that it is screwing up our bird training/walking/swimming. But there is even good news there, too -we're getting a much needed break and I'm able to do this update.

We have enough chicks now that they are split between the two buildings, the Prop building and the CCB or chick building. They are separated by a short distance that involves either driving, if you have equipment or supplies, or walking up a small hill if empty handed. All of Cohort 1 is in the Prop and all the younger chicks 812-817 are in the CCB. This makes for a busy day, constantly shuttling from one building to the next. Currently the staff is fairly well split with Claire and Garry helping out at the CCB and myself on duty in the Prop. Brooke is working on the trike, a rare opportunity since it seems to be in constant motion throughout the day.

We're currently training all the birds through 813, with the exception on 806 who is under the weather, so to speak. Yesterday was the first training day for both 812 and 813 with excellent jobs done by both chicks. It was actually their first time even out for a walk and with minimal coaxing, they were soon following the trike in circuits at the circle pen. 813 took to the trike a little quicker and with less fear, but so far both of these birds were the easiest to train. We had hoped to train 814 this afternoon, but the rain squashed that idea. He'll have to wait until tomorrow for his first time.

In between rain showers, we're trying to socialize the chicks in Cohort 1. So far, we have combined 804 and 805 with great success and we're going to try to introduce 803 to the duo. Last time we tried that, 803 was a little too aggressive toward the younger chicks, so we have given him some time to regroup and hopefully mellow out. We've also put 810 and 809 together, 810 and 811 and 809 and 807 - trying different combinations. With the proposed ship date of June 24th, we're feeling the crunch in trying to get the chicks together into a cohesive unit. It is a fairly involved process starting with two chicks, adding another or perhaps two if the personalities click. We then walk them several times, train them together and let them get used to the intermediate pens at the White Series. All this is supervised and takes lots of man hours. Thank goodness; not only for the staff here at Patuxent, but also for our interns and all the volunteers. It takes a village...

So, that's my rainy day story. The rain has finally let up and its time to start walking chicks, but first I have to start rounding up staff that's scattered over the campus.

Date: May 30, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

MORE CHICK NEWS

Location: Main Office

We read Dan Fantore’s GuestBook entry saying, “This expectant Dad is pacing the floor bare wondering how the chicks are doing--and any more?” - - so we thought we'd better deliver some chick news before he wore out his carpet.

Bev reports that two more Patuxent eggs have hatched; 816 late evening on May 28, and 817 made its appearance a little earlier today.

This 'reporter'' will be away next week, but Field Journal readers are being left in Joe and Heather's capable hands.

Date: May 26, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

WELCOME 815

Location: Main Office

Bev said it was a, "wild day" at Patuxent today. It took her a while to find 5 minutes of quiet to call and report this morning's arrival of 815, the third hatch from eggs sent to Patuxent from the Calgary Zoo. The first two 'Canadians' were 802 who died May 23, and 813 which hatched May 24. There is still one more egg incubating from Calgary's last shipment.

Date: May 26, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

MEET THE CLASS OF 2008

Location: Main Office

Thanks to Heather, the Class of 2008 webpage is now available. In addition to photos of the chicks, the page lists the egg sources; hatch dates; gender (once known); band color; and their early character traits and ‘firsts’. We will add to the page as more chicks are hatched, and continue to build the page with photos and brief comments as they grow and mature.

The webpage for the Class of 2008 is also available via the Site Map under the heading "Whooping Crane Photos & Bios."

Date: May 25, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

HATCH #14

Location: Main Office

The chick crew at Patuxent have had their hands full with the last two hatches occurring in the wee hours. 814 hatched out overnight from an egg supplied by the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans, LA (ACRES).

Date: May 24, 2008 - Entry 4 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

ABOUT MILEMAKER

Location: Main Office

Many of you have been emailing to inquire about MileMaker 2008, which we usually launch on April 1st. As you know, because of the research and development of the new, more westerly migration route, we weren’t able to keep to that date this year.

While there is still one stopover location to confirm with the property owner, we are working on calculating the miles for the entire route and all the migration legs, as well as creating a migration map and the various MileMaker pages for posting on the website.

Please bear with us. Hopefully we will have everything ready and posted in the next 7 to 10 days.

To determine the cost of a MileMaker sponsorship, our usual practice is to divide the total of our estimated migration expenses by the number of migration miles to be flown. In 2008, we estimate our expenses will rise considerably due to the high cost of fuel. However, we are keeping the increase to MileMaker to a modest $2 per mile – from $206 to $208.

Our thanks to the many who have inquired about MileMaker and have been patiently waiting for its launch. It won’t be long now.

Date: May 24, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Bev Paulan

Subject:

EXERCISING THE CHICKS

Location: Maryland
We took the chicks outside for exercise today under bright sun and wispy clouds. They are all doing quite well, and learning to get along with each other.

Top Left: That's 806 in the background, 805 leading the way, and 804 off to the right - all out for one of their daily walks.

Bottom Left: Basking in the red glow for the heat lamp in his pen, we get our first look at 812.

Bottom Right: Bev, with the help of robo-crane, leads 806 and 804 to the entrance to the circle pen to start their day's training.

Date: May 24, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

813 ARRIVED

Location: Main Office
Bev called this morning with the news that 813 had hatched out overnight. 813 is from an egg shipped to Patuxent from the Calgary Zoo.

Coming soon - the 2008 chick photos and bio page. In addition, this year OM will be working in conjunction with Journey North to provide information and updates on the Class of 2008.

Date: May 24, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Message in a Bottle

Location: Main Office
This article contains some interesting facts and consciousness-raising points we thought worth sharing.

The water that comes out of most city taps in Canada is pretty clean. Yet many people prefer to spend money on bottled water, believing that it is somehow safer. Now we’re learning that the stuff in plastic water bottles may be more harmful than anything in our tap water.

'Bisphenol A' is just one chemical that’s been in the news recently – and in many plastic bottles. This compound mimics estrogens (human female hormones) and has been linked to breast and ovarian cancers and childhood developmental problems. It is found in clear, hard polycarbonate plastic commonly used in household and commercial water coolers and some reusable bottles, and it’s just one potentially harmful substance associated with plastic containers.

The presence of chemicals isn’t the only reason we should try to wean ourselves from the bottle, though. For one thing, bottled water is expensive, costing more than a comparable amount of gasoline.

Unlike most nations on Earth, Canada has vast quantities of fresh water. Have we so polluted our water that we feel compelled to pay a lot for it? And from beginning to end (and for plastics, that end is a long time away), plastic bottles contribute to environmental problems.

To start, the manufacturing process is a factor in global warming and depletion of energy resources. It takes close to 17 million barrels of oil to produce the 30 billion water bottles that U.S. citizens go through every year. Or, as the National Geographic website illustrates it: "Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil was needed to produce the bottle."

It also takes more water to produce a bottle than the bottle itself will hold.
Canadians consume more than two billion litres of bottled water a year, and globally, we consume about 50 billion US gallons a year. Unfortunately, most of those bottles – more than 85 per cent, in fact – get tossed into the trash rather than the recycling bin.

The pollution from plastics affects our air, land, and water. Many plastic bottles end up in landfills or get incinerated, and burning plastic releases toxic chemicals into the air. Plastic that stays on land or that is buried can take hundreds of years to break down, and even then, it doesn’t completely biodegrade.

One of the most disturbing things is what happens to plastic that ends up in the oceans – which is about 10 per cent of all plastic produced, according to Greenpeace. About 550 miles off the coast of California, a massive, expanding island of plastic debris 100 feet deep and bigger than the province of Quebec, swirls in what is known as the North Pacific Gyre. In a recent column for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website, writer Heather Mallick described it as "a hideous chyme [semi-fluid mass] stretching and pulsing in the sea like an underwater gob of spiky phlegm."

Plastic doesn’t biodegrade; rather, it photodegrades, which means that, under sunlight, it just keeps breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. The tiniest bits of plastic, called nurdles, enter the food chain when they are eaten by marine animals and birds. Nurdles also soak up toxins, adding to the poisons consumed by animals and every creature up the food chain. More than a million birds and marine animals die every year from eating plastic waste or from becoming entangled in plastics.

If the environmental damage caused by plastic bottles or the existence of potentially toxic chemicals in the bottles isn't enough to make you avoid them, how about some reasons that hit closer to home?

First there’s the fact that many bottlers get their water from municipal supplies. Coca Cola filters and bottles water from municipal sources in Calgary, Alberta and Brampton, Ontario for its Dasani brand. Pepsi's Aquafina comes mostly from Vancouver, British Columbia and Mississauga, Ontario. That's right: they're taking your tap water and selling it back to you at a markup that can be as high as 3,000 times the price you pay for it through your taxes.

There's also a danger that governments may use the growing reliance on bottled water as an excuse to avoid their responsibility to ensure we have access to safe drinking water. The federal government must address any existing concerns about drinking-water quality with enforceable standards designed to protect human health.

If you're worried about chlorine in your drinking water, put it in a pitcher and let it stand overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate – or consider buying a carbon activated filter for your tap. To carry water with you, fill up your stainless steel or glass bottle from the tap, and enjoy.

Water is a precious resource that belongs to all of us. Let’s not take it for granted. And let’s not put it in plastic.

Reprinted from “Science Matters” a column by Dr. David Suzuki, PhD and Dr. Faisal Moola.

Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and chair of the David Suzuki Foundation which he founded. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, and Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 22 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the long-running CBC television program 'The Nature of Things', and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It's a Matter of Survival, and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. His written work includes more than 43 books.

Dr. Faisal Moola is the Director of Science at the David Suzuki Foundation. He is a practicing scientist and has published widely in scientific journals on many topics in the areas of wildlife biology, conservation, and environmental policy. He has conducted research in some of Canada’s most significant wilderness areas, such as the great northern Boreal Forest, the old-growth rainforests of British Columbia, and the Acadian woodlands of Atlantic Canada. He has also been a university lecturer. 

Date: May 23, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Chick MORTALITY

Location: Main Office
Yesterday, Bev reported that handlers found 802 had lost 10% of his body weight overnight. As a result he was hospitalized. Sadly, we have to report that 802 has died of causes not as yet determined.

Date: May 22, 2008 - Entry 4 Reporter:

Bev Paulan

Subject:

Bev’s Chick Report & PHOTOS

Location: Maryland
Time has taken on an unearthly quality. At moments, it seems to stand still, yet at others it moves at hyper-speed, too fast to keep up with. The birds are growing before our eyes; so fast that when I come back from my days off, I can't keep straight which chick is which. Who was cute and fuzzy two days ago, is now tall and aloof. Who was struggling to eat, is now eating too much and is in need of extra exercise. The evolvement makes my head spin.

We're already socializing some of the older chicks with some success, more or less. As long as we keep the birds moving, either on a walk or in the circle pen, everyone gets along. As soon as we stop moving, the posturing and pecking starts, so it’s off and running again.

All the birds to date, with the exception of 811, the youngest, have been outside, and 809 aside, all have started their trike training. 809 is suffering from enteritis, a not uncommon chick ailment, and is being medicated. He is doing well and we anticipate introducing him to the trike very soon.

And all the ordinary things continue, toe taping, cleaning pens, weighing chicks, mowing over watered grass (thanks to the excessive rainfall we have received), walking, swimming, training, etc.

Some good news and some not so good news today. At lunchtime, 812 (ICF egg) hatched out. This morning 802 was taken to the hospital. When handlers did the early morning weighing, they discovered he’s lost 10% of his body weight overnight. An x-ray showed something pressing on his air sac. A barium x-ray is planned.

Yesterday, we received two shipments of eggs: 3 eggs from the Calgary Zoo, and 1 from ACRES in New Orleans. We're keeping our fingers crossed that all are viable. The anticipated hatch dates for all four eggs are this weekend, so it’s going to get very busy again, very soon.

Above: The costume takes 801, 802, 803, and 804 on their first group walk.
Below: 807 is just a' boogying it after the crane puppet.
Above: The first four chicks in the Class of 2008 get some free time to forage after their first group walk.
Below: 807 - Get away from my mealworm!

Our first look at the offspring of 313* & 318. That's 810 on the left and 811 on the right.

Date: May 22, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

WRAPPING UP IMBD

Location: Main Office
Migratory birds travel long distances between breeding and non-breeding sites, making this year’s International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) theme - "From Tundra to Tropics - Connecting Birds, Habitat and People – most appropriate.

May 10, IMBD 2008, gave us all an opportunity to celebrate birds and bird conservation. And once again, Operation Migration was lucky enough to do its celebrating at Disney's Animal Kingdom (DAK). It is hard to imagine there are many organizations that do a better job of connecting birds and habitat than the Disney folks, or a better place to be on IMBD that at Animal Kingdom.

We had a terrific time speaking with hundreds of adults and kids that stopped by our exhibit, but as usual, it was Disney's many cast members - some old friends, and some new - that made it an especially awesome and happy experience. It is rare to meet so many dedicated, generous, and congenial people; the Disney cast literally 'wow' us each year.

The Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund (DWCF - recently renamed the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund) is the only granting organization that has supported Operation Migration and our work with the Whooping crane, every single year since the project's inception. DWCF’s many other supports aside, its financial contributions to OM over the years total more than $145,000!

We salute and send thanks to some very special friends who made our time at DAK 'magical': DAK's Zoological Manager Scott Tidmus and Special Events and Media Manager, Alex McMichael; DWCF's Grants Administrator Kim Sams, and Claire Michael who is with Walt Disney World's Conservation Initiatives.
 
OM's trike and pictorial display booth were set up at DAK's Conservation Station under the larger than life facade of Rafiki's Planet. In the photo, the day's first visitors begin to arrive under bright blue skies, braving temps that hovered in the mid 90's. Scott Tidmus stands beside the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund's picture board depicting many of the activities Disney cast members have volunteered their time to assist with. Behind our display table are (left to right) Walter Sturgeon, a Director on OM's Board, and we are proud to say, one of Disney's 2007 Wildlife Conservation Heroes, and stalwart OM volunteer, Mark Chenoweth of Kissimmee, FL.  In costume in the center of the photo is young Taylor Richter, son of Karen and OM Board of Director Dale Richter. Not quite captured in the front left of the photo is crowd favorite, Launchpad McDuck.

Date: May 22, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

WOOD BUFFALO-ARANSAS POPULATION UPDATE

Location: Main Office

Whooping Crane Recovery co-chair and Canadian Wildlife Service biologist, Brian Johns advises that conditions on the breeding grounds in the northeastern corner of Wood Buffalo National Park and adjacent areas are better than expected.

Weather stations on either side of the nesting area reported below normal snowfall levels. The abundance of rain during late August and September of 2007 however, resulted in  higher than expected water levels producing normal to above normal habitat conditions through out the majority of the nesting area.

Whooping crane breeding pair surveys carried out by the Canadian Wildlife Service between May 16 and 19 discovered 72 territorial pairs. Although six of the territorial pairs were not breeding this year, the result was still a record 66 nests. Brian reported that they also discovered another 12 sub-adult pairs, bring the total pairs in this population to 84. He said they found single cranes scattered throughout the nesting area.

Date: May 22, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

LPBO BANDS 750,000th BIRD

Location: Main Office

The Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO), at Long Point, Ontario reached a major milestone in April, becoming the first North American migration monitoring station to band 750,000 birds. The 3/4-million mark was reached when long-time volunteer, Hugh McArthur, banded a Brown Creeper at LPBO's Old Cut Field Station.

Using standard protocols, researchers at LPBO have been placing a uniquely numbered metal band around a birds’ legs since 1960. At the same time, information such as the bird's species, wing length, age, fat content, sex, and weight are also recorded. After 48 years of research, LPBO houses a vast, diverse, and valuable data set on North America's migratory birds. Together with the efforts of other stations in Canada, the U.S., and Central and South America, the banding information collected has helped identify global ranges and population trends for hundreds of North American bird species.

LPBO is North America's oldest bird observatory, and it will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2010. More information can be found at: http://www.birdscanada.org/longpoint/

Excerpted from E-bulletin on the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) website.

Date: May 20, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

EASTERN MIGRATORY POPULATION (EMP) UPDATE

Location: Main Office

As of May 17th, 59 of the 72 Whooping cranes in the EMP (39 males and 33 females) were confirmed back in Wisconsin. This total includes all of the Class of 2007 with the exception of 714 which was predated while returning north, and 727* which is in Illinois and still making her way north. (* = female; DAR = Direct Autumn Release)

Spring Migration
733 completed his migration to the Necedah refuge on May 6 and roosted that night in Juneau County.
727* moved from Sullivan County, IN to Vermillion County, IL by mid May.

Florida
516 was still in Marion County when last checked on May 15.

Michigan
DAR533* last reported in Mason County April 11.
DARs737, 739*, 742*, 744* and 746* remain in Tuscola County, MI having returned there after some spring wandering. DARs 737 and 742* do not carry PTTs so confirmation of their status is not possible.
DAR740 was in Mason County before moving to Allegan County.

Wisconsin News
A potential new pair, 107* & 506, are in Adams County.
501* & 105, a newly formed pair, were on the Necedah Refuge. Neither pair nested.
W601* & 310 have paired on the refuge. They built a nest but the 2 year old female did not produce any eggs.
209*NFT the mate of 416NFT has a severe limp associated with an injured right leg.
735* remains in a top-netted pen at Site 1 on the Necedah NWR.

Because of reported human avoidance problems, trackers retrieved 716*, 717*, 721*, and 726* from Dane County on May 13 and relocated them to the Necedah refuge. 724, who was also at that location, evaded capture, but subsequently was observed in flight over the refuge. May 16 he moved to another area in Dane County as did 721*.

Current Location Unknown
316NFT last observed on the Necedah refuge March 30.
420* last reported in Clark County, WI March 30.
524NFT last reported departing Fayette County, IN on April 15.
DAR527* last reported leaving Jackson County, IN March 16/17. An unconfirmed sighting in Fond du Lac County, IN on April 17 may have been this bird.
524NFT last reported departing Fayette County, IN April 16.

Long Term Missing (more than 90 days)
205NFT last recorded at Necedah Oct. 16/07.
201*NFT last recorded in WI June 9 and suspected dead.

Nesting Summary

Pair

Began Incubation

Nest
Status

Activity (*= See Note )

211 & 217*

April 7

Abandoned May 6

2 eggs collected, 1 fertile (*1)

213 & 218*

April 8 or 9

Abandoned May 6

1 egg collected

317 & 303*

April 9 or 10

Failed by May 5

2 eggs - 1 predated, 1 late embryo death

403 & 309*

April 8 or 9

Failed May 3

 

505 & 415*

Before April 14

Failed by April 30

 

416 & 209*

Before April 14

Failed by April 14

 

212 & 419*

Unknown

Failed by May 5

1 egg collected / infertile

318 & 313*

April 13 or 14

Failed May 6

2 fertile, viable eggs collected (*2)

311 & 312*

April 15 -17

Failed by May 5

1 non-viable fertile egg collected

401 & 508*

April 16

Failed by May 1

 

408 & 519*

April 23

Failed before May 5

 


*1 (Photo to right is 211 on dummy eggs)
211 & 217 incubated until the morning of May 6 when they deserted their two eggs. Both eggs were collected and replaced with dummy eggs (crane eggshells filled with plaster). That night the pair returned and resumed incubation, so May 7th afternoon a costumed biologist flushed the birds and switched back one real egg for the dummy eggs. The female eventually resumed incubation for the night, but again deserted the nest the morning of May 8. The egg, which was by this time peeping, was collected and again replaced with a dummy. No incubation was noted that night or the following day, but the pair did return to incubate on the night of May 9.

The pair left the nest early in May 10 and did not return until evening, when they resumed incubation. They continued to incubate normally and attentively during the following three days. The male was incubating the evening of May 13 and the pair strongly defended their nest when a costumed biologist returned to remove the dummy egg.

*2
313* & 318 incubated until their nest failed on the morning of 6 May. 2 viable, fertile eggs were collected and replaced with two dummy eggs. The adults returned to the nest that night and they incubated normally most of the following day and night. The morning of May 8 the pair left the nest and did not return and the dummy eggs were collected.

Update compiled from data supplied by WCEP's Tracking Team.

Date: May 17, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

ANOTHER HATCH

Location: Main Office

Bev called moments ago (2:30pm) to advise that 811 had just hatched. In fact, Patuxent vet Dr. Glen Olsen was just coming in to check out the new arrival. 811 hatched from one of the eggs laid in Necedah. We are going to put together a little chart showing the chick numbers, their hatch dates and where they came from as eggs, and will post it when we have it all gathered together.

The next egg expected to hatch - in a few days - is from the captive flock at Patuxent.

Date: May 17, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Wood Buffalo/Aransas Population Update

Location: Main Office

Tom Stehn, Whooping Crane Coordinator at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge advises that only a single Whooping crane was located on his May 15 aerial census of the refuge and surround areas. "The rest of the flock has migrated north, with most of the birds presumably on the nesting grounds in Canada," Stehn said.

The estimated size of the western population remains at a record 266 birds, consisting of ~144 adults, 83 sub-adults, and 39 juveniles. Tom reported there was no evidence of any Whooping crane mortality having occurred this past winter or as yet in the spring migration.

Tom's next aerial census will not be until late October, but in the meantime, they will continue to monitor the one remaining crane from the ground.

Date: May 16, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

ROAD TRIP AND CHICKS

Location: New York

ROAD TRIP: Joe and I are on our way back from International Migratory Bird Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom and are closing in on home. At the invitation of Curator of Birds, Donna Bear-Hull, we visited the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens on Sunday, where, with Walt Sturgeon's help, we put the trike on display and talked with zoo visitors who stopped by. Joe delivered two presentations before we wound up a second consecutive great, but long day.

Monday was a marathon driving
day . We unloaded the back of the trailer and re-tied down the trikes securely, loaded back up and were on the road headed north by 7:45am. 14 loooong hours later we arrived in Laurel, MD for our next stop - Patuxent. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent catching up and working with the crew there, and getting updated on the chick hatches and egg expectations. Then, after two meetings this morning, we made it as far as mid-state New York. Tomorrow we'll leave in time to be in Niagara Falls, NY in the morning for a first-thing meeting with reps at our bank there.

Hope that explains the scarcity of journal entries the past while and you will forgive us. BUT what we do have for you is a brief report from Bev and some photos to share.

CHICK NEWS: Necedah egg number 3 became 810 when it hatched out early this morning. This brings the number of potential chicks for the first ultralight-led cohort to 8. Why only 8? Because either 807 or 809 will be a genetic holdback, and one bird has a health problem which may prevent it from becoming part of the program.

Bev said, "Swimming exercise has begun for 801, 802, and 803- and that all three took to the pool quite well. 804 and 805 have been introduced to the trike engine and both were a little afraid. 806 was exposed to the engine this morning and didn't seem to mind too badly. Then for afternoon training, Brooke started the engine and took him on several circuits around the circle pen."

Above: Patuxent Chick Rearer Extraordinaire Brian Clauss checks the eggs in the incubator.
Below: 803 thoroughly enjoyed its 'stroll in the park', tripping along through the grass on an extra long walk.
Above: Our biggest and oldest chick, 801, runs along flapping its stubby wings to keep up with Brooke in the circle pen.
Below: 802 was so wiped out from its swimming exercise it could are less about the yummy meal worms the puppet was dispensing.
Above: 804 needed little encouragement from costumed handler Brooke on its outing, although once in a while its bum got ahead of his feet.
Below: Too cute and so timid. 806 was more interested in cuddling up to the costume than in getting any exercise or snagging a tasty meal worm.
Above: Now this was one hungry chick! The puppet couldn't dispense the meal worms fast enough to keep this little guy satisfied.
Below: Where is it? Where is it? The puppet dispensed the meal worms in the grass to teach 805 how to forage. As you can see, it was paying close attention.

Date: May 15, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Heather Ray

Subject:

CHANGE4CRANES

Location: Main Office
Last June we called upon our Craniac Kids to help advance our cause by sharing our story within their communities and collect spare change through the Change4Cranes fundraising drive. We were immediately overwhelmed with the requests for these kits – almost 4,000 were sent to more than 100 schools!

As the school year quickly draws to a close we’d like to remind those that have not yet submitted the results of their collection efforts that a new class of Whooping cranes is currently hatching… and by the time you return to school in the fall they will already be approaching the point in their young lives when they must learn a very important migration route. Each and every penny collected through the Change4Cranes initiative will help them reach their new winter home in Florida.

Again, thank you VERY much for your continued support!

Date: May 14, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

2ND GENETIC HOLDBACK CHICK HATCHES

Location: Maryland
News can't be faster than this. 809 just hatched. It may not be part of the ultralight program however as it is a possible genetic holdback. This chick is a sibling of 807 who came from a captive bird that has never produced before.

Date: May 14, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

WELCOME OUR NEW INTERNS

Location: Maryland
Field Journal readers will recall an earlier entry about the pool used to swim the chicks at Patuxent having collapsed. This called for a replacement pool, and it was constructed in lots of time before the first of the chicks in the Class of 2008 needed their swimming exercise. In the photo L-R are Patuxent's Jonathan Male, Robert Doyle, OM Intern Garry Foltz, and Patuxent's college intern, Erin. Missing from the photo is the 'mastermind' behind the pool construction, Patuxent biologist Dan Sprague. Dan's involvement with Operation Migration dates all the way back to when we were working with Canada geese.

The dummy imprint models also got their spring spruce up. They were all cleaned and freshened up with a new coat of paint.

808 hatched out Sunday night. The other to Necedah eggs are likely to hatch before the week is out. In addition, there is one Patuxent egg that has pipped so it shouldn't be too long before we see another chick. 802 had circle pen training yesterday and 803 foraged around the trike with the engine running for the first time. This is the last step before he actually starts circle pen training.

Bev's favorite chick, 801, continues to pack away the food and is growing like a weed. It seems it is also an over achiever, and is learning as fast as can be.

The photo to the right shows 802 when it was out for exercise. Almost looks like it is jogging along.

To the left is a photo of little 806 when it was still in ICU.

Date: May 14, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

WELCOME OUR NEW INTERNS

Location: Maryland

Meet Garry and Claire Foltz, our two new interns. Gary and Claire hail from Chippewa Falls, WI and have left their six grandchildren behind to join the OM Team for the 2008 season. They will be with us through to the end of the migration. In addition to doing considerable traveling between their native Wisconsin and Florida and Texas, they enjoy birding and have volunteered at the Beaver Creek Reserve in Fall Creek, WI.

Joe and I met Garry and Claire for the first time yesterday here at Patuxent, and were impressed by their enthusiasm. Their dedication to the chicks is already evident.

They told us, "We are excited about being part of the OM crew and looking forward to continuing to work with the chicks at Necedah and on the migration."

Bev and Brooke said they are delighted with Garry and Claire's work and how fast they are catching on to the many chick rearing tasks that need to be performed every day.

Date: May 14, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

808 ARRIVED

Location: Maryland

808 has hatched and hopefully, there should be three more chicks on the scene before the end of the week; two from the remaining Necedah eggs and one Patuxent egg.
 
Our newest chick 808. 804 tucked under the brood model. 802 stops 'to smell the roses'.

Date: May 12, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

HATCHES AND CHICK UPDATE

Location: Maryland

On May 7th, we reported that the last three of this season's eleven nests were abandoned and that 5 eggs were recovered and taken to ICF. (2 eggs from 211 & 217*; one egg from 213 & 218*; and two eggs from 318 & 313*.) Since that time there has been much activity.

While the WCEP team was discussing the disposition of the collected eggs, First Family parents, 211 & 217*, returned to their nest and proceeded to sit on the dummy eggs left in place of those that had been collected. This prompted the team to chance returning one of their real eggs to the nest to see if they would indeed resume incubating. When the team arrived to replace the egg, the pair defended their nest, and then foraged for a while in the vicinity. By dark, one of the adults was sitting on the egg. Shortly after nine the next morning however, the pair left the nest and flew off, so the peeping egg was again picked up and taken to ICF.

Given what happened with the first return egg attempt and that a couple of the eggs were peeping, the field team decided not to make any more egg swaps. (Four of the eggs collected were viable. One of the eggs collected from the First Family was infertile with the contents completely broken down and rotting.)

With two eggs of the four fertile collected eggs either pipping or peeping it was decided to transport them to Patuxent for incubation and hatching. ICF's Marianne Wellington flew to Maryland and delivered them to Patuxent on Friday. She also brought with her the first egg produced by ICF's captive population. Both of 313 and 318*'s eggs were moving well before before shipping and by the time Marianne and the eggs arrived at Baltimore airport, 218* and 213's chick had rotated and probably would have hatched had it had a bit more room. 217* and 211's egg had pipped.

804 arrived on the scene just before the weekend and we should have a picture of it soon from Bev - her initial photo wasn't quite up to her standards.

805 has hatched out and the photo of it shown to the right was taken almost immediately after it emerged from the egg.

The photo below shows the egg of soon to be 806 (left) and 805 before hatch (on the right). Both of these chicks hatched on Friday. 805's parents are 213 * 218* and 806 belongs to the First Family adults.

807 hatched during the night on Saturday. This was a Patuxent egg from a first time layer and is likely to be a genetic holdback. Another Patuxent egg is likely to hatch by Sunday morning if it doesn't hatch overnight.

Bev reported three firsts for three chicks on Saturday: 801 had its first circle pen training session. 802 had its first exposure to the trike and real engine noise; and 803 was taken outside for his first walk.



Date: May 11, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

727 POSSIBLY LOCATED

Location: Florida
Thanks to a sighting report, it appears as if 727, the only Class of 2007 bird to have not yet completed its spring migration, may not be far from her last known location (April 10) in Sullivan County, IN. Trackers are checking video recorded by the member of the public who observed the bird to see if they can decipher her leg bands and confirm it is 727.

Date: May 11, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

IMBD A HUGE SUCCESS AT DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM (DAK)

Location: Florida
92 degrees and bright, sunny blue skies yesterday brought folks out in droves to the Disney parks and Animal Kingdom for International Migratory Bird Day. For the third year, OM was the guest of Disney for this special day and it was definitely the best ever.

Helping Joe and I on site were Craniacs Mark and Peggy Chenoweth of Kissimmee, FL, and Wanda Easton from Tampa. Also on hand were volunteers (and members of OM's Board) Walter Sturgeon and Dale Richter along with his wife Karen and son Taylor. In the searing heat, Taylor was the only one brave enough to don a costume and circulate in the crowd to greet both adults and kids.

Two of Disney's cast members we especially want to recognize and thank for the terrific day are Scott Tidmus, Zoological Manger at DAK, and Alex McMichael, Manager, Special Events and Media. Each year they both put out a lot of time and effort on OM's behalf, and being hosted by them is to be treated like royalty. At tip of the mouse ears to both Scott and Alex.

Hopefully we'll have more about IMBD at Disney to pass on in future entries, but for now, above is a photo of the crew who worked OM's display and exhibit yesterday. (Back Row L-R: Mark Chenoweth, Dale Richter, Karen Richter, Scott Tidmus. Center Row L-R: Walter Sturgeon, Peggy Chenoweth, Liz Condie, Alex McMichael. Front Row L-R: Joe Duff and Taylor Richter. (Missing from the photo is volunteer Wanda Easton.)

Date: May 7, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Bev Paulan

Subject:

BEV'S CHICK UPDATE

Location: Maryland
We’re heeeeere! At Patuxent that is. After a driving marathon of 55 hours over the course of ten days (that was only 4 trips; and that was me), an airplane trip from Baltimore to Tampa (again, me), a bout with the flu (that would be Brooke), we finally arrived at Patuxent with no time to spare.

801 decided to grace the world early and we missed the blessed moment by a day. When we did arrive, it was with both feet hitting the ground running. Not only were there chick duties right off the bat (time to put on the chick mama hat), but a new pool had to be erected, the aviary, which had been ready to go, needed to be re-assembled, carpets and mats rewashed and then there was a trike to get ready. And that was just the first day!

After having spent the better part of the last three months on the road scouting the new migration route, it’s hard to get back into ‘chick mode’. Not unlike childbirth, after it’s over (chick rearing, that is) one tends to forget the pain and look lovingly back on the cute, cuddly youngsters.

One forgets the toting of 50 pound feed bags, the searing heat in full costume, the crouching for hours on end feeding the little ones. Thank goodness for that selective memory, too, or one would not want to come back! But the chicks beckoned and we came, puppets in hand, eagerly anticipating the new season.

801 is the smartest, cutest, most personable chick ever! I know I said that about 702, last year’s first chick, but this time it’s really true. After just one day, he was eating and drinking on his own. Unheard of at that age! We have very high aspirations for this little guy - seems he has the makings of a true leader. (Note the tone of pride in my voice!) He even is eating so well, Brooke afraid he's going to be a little ‘porker'. Today, we took him outside for his first walk, and just like an old pro, he followed the puppet and gobbled mealworms.

802 is the spitting image of, well, every other Whooping Crane chick. In other words, absolutely adorable. He, too, is eating and drinking on his own, but it took him a little longer than his cohort mate. He is still a little shy, and takes a little coaxing, but once he starts eating, he gobbles ‘till he’s about ready to explode. It has taken a little bit of work to get him to drink due to his tendency to face plant in the water bowl.

803, who hatched at approximately 6:30pm last evening is still in his ICU, but we anticipate moving him to a big pen later today. He is still a little unsteady on his feet, and we want to make sure he is walking well on his own before the move. Even in his ICU, a little glimmer of personality has shown up, he seems quite the little 'ham'. There is a small camera on his ICU and quite often he positions himself to look right into the camera, even when we are trying to feed him. (To preclude any complaints about my suppositions, I know he can only see his reflection - if he can even focus at this age.)

Break time is over; its time for more feeding, walking, blitzing, and whatever else needs doing.
 

Above: 801 on his first exposure to the great outdoors.

Below: 802 basks in the warm glow of the heat lamp.
Above: 801 takes his first walk.

Below: 803 looks like he's posing for the camera.

Date: May 7, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Disappointing News from Necedah

Location: Main Office

Yesterday, on the warmest day at Necedah so far this season (low 80’s) in what has been a mostly cool and wet spring, the remaining three incubating pairs abandoned their nests.

Two fertile eggs were recovered from each of the nests of 211 & 217* and 318 & 313*, and one egg, also fertile, was taken from the nest of 213 & 218*. All of the eggs were transferred to the International Crane Foundation.

Abandoned nest of 211 & 217*
with 2 eggs
Abandoned nest of 213 & 218*
with 1 egg
Abandoned nest of  318 & 313*
with 2 eggs

The nest desertions are reminiscent of last April when, during the same short space of time, all four 2007 incubating pairs abandoned their nests. Then too, the birds leaving their nests appeared to be associated with a surge of warm weather.

This was the second nest desertion for two pairs – 211 & 217* (parents of W601), and 213 & 218*. The other two pairs who left their nests in 2007 were 416 & 209*, and 317 & 303* a sibling pair. One of the eggs collected from the abandoned nests produced 717 - the offspring of 213 & 218*.

Then, in mid May 2007, a passing cold front appeared to generate a flurry of nesting and re-nesting activity. While several pairs built nests, only the sibling pair 303 & 317* produced an egg which in the end turned out to be not viable.

Needless to say, in addition to dashing the high hopes engendered by the potential 11 nests represented to the population, this most recent turn of events is accompanied by much conjecture. Is it weather related? A quick check revealed that on the breeding grounds of the Wood Buffalo-Aransas population the temperature this morning is 23 degrees with a forecast high of 46. What is going on? If only there really was a Dr. Doolittle.

There will be no joy in WCEPville today. The fledgling Eastern Migratory Population has struck out.

Date: May 7, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

733 COMPLETES MIGRATION

Location: Main Office
733 completed his migration yesterday returning to the core reintroduction area to roost in Juneau County. He had last been detected on April 8th in northbound flight south of Chicago, IL where he encountered rain and strong winds.

This leaves just one Class of 2007 bird who has yet to return. 727* was grounded in Sullivan County, IN on April 10 and that is where she was last detected on April 14.

Date: May 6, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

NEWS FROM PATUXENT

Location: Main Office

This just in from Bev in Patuxent.

#1 chick for 2008 - 801 802 gets a drinking lesson Brooke feeding 802.

803 hasn't hatched as yet and Bev said there was no further progress on its pipping. Three more eggs were gathered from the captive flock, one of which looks viable with a potential hatch date of June 1. The viability of the other two eggs is still unknown.

802 has been moved to the big pen, and one of the adult birds from the Patuxent population has been placed nearby as a role model for the new chicks.

The crew is hard at it erecting the chicks’ new swimming pool and Brooke is working to get the training trike ready.

Date: May 6, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

EASTERN MIGRATORY POPULATION (EMP) UPDATE

Location: Main Office

As of May 3rd, 58 of the 72 Whooping cranes in EMP were confirmed back in Wisconsin, including 735 who was transported from Chassahowitzka to a pen on the Necedah refuge due to an injury. With the exception of 727* and 733 (and 714 who was predated while returning north) all of the Class of 2007 has now completed their spring migration.

Currently, the estimated maximum size of the Eastern Migratory Population is 72 birds, 39 males and 33 females. (* = female; DAR = Direct Autumn Release)

Recent Arrivals
- 706, 712, and 713 were last detected in flight south of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula April 16, and completed their migration to the core reintroduction area April 30.
- 707, 710 and 722* roosted in Waupaca County April 21 and completed their migration over the Necedah refuge on April 23.

Florida
516 remains in Marion County, FL.

Michigan
- DAR’s 737, 739*, 742*, 744*, and 746* remain in Tuscola County, MI.
- DAR740 and DAR 533* are in Mason County, MI.

Current Location Unknown
- 316NFT last observed on the Necedah refuge March 30.
- 420* last reported in Clark County, WI March 30.
- 524NFT last reported departing Fayette County, IN on April 16. Previous to this, 524 had not been located since Nov. 23/07 when he was at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.
- DAR527* last reported leaving Jackson County, IN March 16/17.
-727* was last observed April 14 in Sullivan County, IN where thunderstorms had grounded her on April 10.
- 733 was last detected in flight during migration on April 8 when he encountered strong wind and rain south of Chicago.

Long Term Missing (more than 90 days)
-
205NFT last recorded at Necedah Oct. 16/07.
- 201*NFT last recorded in WI June 9.

Nesting Summary

Pair

Began Incubation

Status

211 & 217*

April 7

Incubating

213 & 218*

April 8 or 9

Incubating

403 & 309*

April 8 or 9

Nest failed May 3

317 & 303*

April 9 or 10

Nest failed May 4 or 5

505 & 415*

Before April 14

Nest failed by April 30

416 & 209*

Before April 14

Nest failed by April 14

212 & 419*

Unknown

Nest failed by May 5

318 & 313*

April 13 or 14

Incubating

311 & 312*

April 15 or 16

Nest failed May 4 or 5

401 & 508*

April 16

Nest failed by May 1

408 & 519*

April 23

Nest failed before May 5

Still 'Dating'
The recently formed pairs of 506 & 107* (in Adams County) and 105 & 501* (Necedah refuge) were not nesting as of May 3rd. The newly formed pair of 310 & W601* built a nest but the two year old female did not produce any eggs.

Update compiled from data supplied by WCEP's Tracking Team.

Date: May 6, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

3 OF 11 PAIRS LEFT INCUBATING

Location: Main Office

Yesterday, Sara Zimorski flown by Windway Aviation pilot Mike Frakes conducted an aerial survey of Whooping crane nests and pairs. (* = Female) Confirmed lost were the nests of:
- 212 & 419* with one infertile and under developed egg.
- 311 & 312* with one intact fertile egg.
- 317 & 303* with one broken fertile egg and one intact fertile egg.
- 401 & 508* with only eggshell fragments.
- 408 & 519*’s nest was empty.
Intact eggs were collected and transferred to the International Crane Foundation.

This brings the number of unsuccessful nests to 8, but leaves three pairs still incubating. They are:
- 211 & 217* (Wild601's parents) incubating since ~April 7.
- 213 & 218* (717*'s parents) incubating since ~April 8.
- 318 & 313* incubating since ~April 13 or 14.

Hatching activity is anticipated within a week.

During the survey, 209* was seen foraging with her mate 416. She had been observed limping severely ~April 24. Their nest was discovered to contain a broken egg when it was checked April 14.

Date: May 5, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

NEW ARRIVAL - 802!!!!

Location: Main Office

802 (a Canadian from the Calgary Zoo) hatched today. Another egg is pipped and Bev thinks the chick will be out of the shell to greet her when she comes in tomorrow morning. She also promised to send us a photo of 801 to post. This likely won't happen until sometime tonight when she can get to her computer.

Other anticipated hatches are: a Calgary egg this Thursday; a Patuxent egg on Saturday; 2 Patuxent eggs on Monday, and 1 Patuxent egg next Thursday. After that it could be May 25th before there is another hatch. Of the 10 eggs expected to hatch at Patuxent in May, one is likely to be a genetic holdback.

The next shipment from the Calgary Zoo is planned for May 21.

Date: May 5, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

THIRD NEST FAILS

Location: Main Office

Dr. Richard Urbanek reported this morning that 309* and her mate 403 were observed foraging together outside of their nesting marsh on the Necedah Refuge. "This was an indication that their nest had failed," said Urbanek, "and on examination, only small eggshell fragments were found in the nest." (see Richard's photo to right)

This brings to three the total of unsuccessful nests so far this spring. At the moment, 8 nests remain active and an aerial survey is scheduled for today. Richard said, "Hatching of the earliest nests is anticipated during the coming week."


Checking back records, it appears as if the longest incubating pairs from which hatches could be expected are: the First Family (Wild601's parents) 211 & 217* incubating since ~April 7; 213 & 218* (717's parents) incubating since ~April 8; and 317 & 303* incubating since ~April 9. The number of eggs in the nests is not known.

Date: May 5, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

UPDATES - WESTERN AND FLORIDA POPULATIONS

Location: Main Office

Wood Buffalo-Aransas Population
Canadian Wildlife Service biologist, Brian Johns, reported early May weather around Saskatoon, Saskatchewan as being sunny and clear with a north wind, but that more favorable migrating conditions existed to the west. Brian said that while the large wetlands in the western flock’s nesting area were still frozen, the snow was almost gone, leaving slightly below average water conditions.

Brian advised that all confirmed sightings but one were in Saskatchewan. The exception was a lone bird spotted April 30th in Manitoba. His reporting chart lists 35 different locations where the birds have been sighted between April 5 and May 1. With a few exceptions, it appears the majority of the birds are traveling, or roosting, in groups of 2 or 3.

Florida Non Migratory Population
Marty Folk with the Florida Fish & Conservation Commission advised that the Whooping crane pair in Leesburg has re-nested. He  also reported they had found a new nest in Lake County and are collecting incubation data via video surveillance.

Date: May 4, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

CLASS OF '07 JUVIES LOOKING GREAT

Location: Main Office

Thanks to Phillip B. and his camera's long lens we have some super photos of several of the Class of 2007 to share with you.
 
Above: 726 shows off his wing span. Phillip reported 726 foraged by himself while the others fed near the water. He said when 726 moved toward the others it seemed he wanted to 'play'. Phil watched him "jump into the air, spreading his wings to catch the wind, pick up a corn stock, flip it into the air and then kick his legs out to the front."

Below: Four of the Class of 2007 forage near a small pond.
724 goes off on his own.

 



Below: 724 with 717.

Date: May 4, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

FIRST CHICK!!! 801 HATCHED THIS MORNING

Location: Main Office

The first hatch of the year is from a Patuxent egg. 801 emerged from its shell early this morning. (Gender indeterminate for a few days yet.) Bev reported they expect that eggs two and three - from Calgary and Patuxent respectively - should hatch out by tomorrow.

It appears that after that, there could be a pause before there are more hatches, but we hope to have more information on the egg/hatching situation tomorrow when the 'real' work week resumes. (and perhaps a photo too)

Date: May 4, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Location: Main Office

Patuxent had a minor catastrophe yesterday when the pool used to swim the chicks collapsed, believed to be caused by stress fatigue and old age. (Anyone besides me identify with that?) If it was going to go, now was certainly a better time than later when there were birds in the aviary which saw some flood water accumulation.
Photo Left: One wall of the chicks' swimming pool collapsed.

Photo Right: Stock photo showing costumed handler using crane puppet to encourage a chick 'to do its swimming exercise'.

The crew at Patuxent will construct a new pool this week. It will be ready in lots of time for when they will need to give the Class of 2008 chicks their swimming exercise - around 7 or 8 days of age.

 

Date: May 3, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

CHICK NEWS!

Location: Main Office

Just in from Bev Paulan, who, along with Brooke Pennypacker, is on site at Patuxent, is the news that they have peeping from two eggs. One of the eggs is pipped and Bev thinks we could have one if not both chicks hatch out tomorrow!! One egg is from the Patuxent captive flock and the other from the Calgary Zoo.

It appears as if at least one of the breeding adults may have already started its molt, signifying that it is finished laying. More details tomorrow. Stay turned.

Date: May 2, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

REPORTING SITE PAYING OFF

Location: Main Office

The new site and information form for reporting Whooping crane sightings is already reaping benefits. For instance, the most recent report received allowed us to determine that five of the Class of 2007 (716, 717, 721, 724, and 726) appear to be together in Dane County, WI. They were spotted feeding and preening in a small agricultural field about 200 feet from a small wetland.

Should you spot a Whooping crane, please use the REPORT YOUR SIGHTING link in the 'LINKS' column to the right to report your sighting.

Date: May 2, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

ONE NEST LOST

Location: Main Office
It was reported yesterday that one nest, that of 415* and 505, had been lost. Their nest was not in an location where it could be monitored, but trackers observed the pair foraging away from their marshy nesting area, a sign that their nest had failed. Subsequent examination of the nest revealed only tiny fragments of egg shell, indicating that there had been at least been one egg. There was no way of knowing whether the egg had been destroyed or predated.

Richard Urbanek reported that April 23rd's aerial survey had confirmed 10 active nests: 9 on the Necedah refuge and 1 in Wood County, with incubation continuing on the former remaining nests. One other nest which was located in the Meadow Valley SWA failed prior to April 14.

Date: May 1, 2008 - Entry 4 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

"CRANE 309 OVERCOMES WANDERLUST"

Location: Main Office

Journalist, Ed Shamy, a staff writer for the Burlington Free Press (Vermont) penned an article about 309 entitled, "Crane 309 Overcomes Wanderlust". There is one mis-statement; he says that 309 was, "spooked from a tree," but it's a cute and interesting read. Click Burlington Free Press to go to Mr. Shamy's article.

Date: May 1, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

ALL BUT TWO

Location: Main Office

With the exception of 727, last recorded in Indiana April 14, and 733, last detected in flight south of Chicago, IL on April 8, all of the Class of 2007 have completed their migration to the core reintroduction area in Wisconsin.

This morning Dr. Richard Urbanek advised that 706, 712, and 713 were detected in flight yesterday north of the Necedah refuge before landing to roost in Wood County (706 and 712) and Cranmoor Township (713).

735 who is still unable to fly remains penned on the refuge.

Date: May 1, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

C'mon 516!

Location: Main Office
Marty Folk and his team at the Florida Fish & Conservation Commission have been keeping an eye out for 516, the only remaining member of the Eastern Migratory Population still in Florida. He reported to us that 516 was spotted on a reconnaissance flight yesterday. C'mon 516 - it's not that cold up here.

Date: May 1, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject: IT PAYS TO SAVE WETLANDS Location: Main Office
May is American Wetlands Month. This year's theme, "It Pays to Save Wetlands," celebrates the ways wetlands enrich our environment and our lives. It is hoped people will be inspired to work throughout the year to protect and expand wetlands.

Instituted in 1991, Wetlands Month was established as a way to inform the public about the value of wetlands as a natural resource, and to explain the importance and value of one of the planet's most critical ecosystems.

Among the most valuable but least understood of all our natural resources, wetlands are the link between land and water, where the flow of water, the cycling of nutrients, and the energy of the sun meet to produce highly productive ecosystems.

Did you know that wetlands may not be wet year-round? Some of the most important wetlands are in fact seasonally dry transition zones. They provide rich habitat for wildlife. They are places in which many animals and birds build nests and raise their young, and where migrating birds stop to rest and to breed on the abundant plant life that flourishes there.

Wetlands also have many economic values that benefit us as well. They replenish and clean water supplies, helping to remove pollutants from water, cleaning our streams and lakes and reducing the cost of treating our drinking water. They are important for flood control, acting as natural buffers to absorb and reduce damage caused by flood waters. They serve as sites for research and education. They are great spots for fishing, canoeing and hunting, recreational opportunities that add to our economy by bringing in tourist dollars. They are especially important to the multi-billion dollar commercial fishing industry, providing a home to many species of fish and shellfish during their life cycles.

Unfortunately, wetlands are often viewed as wastelands to be drained and converted to other uses. But if wetlands disappear, our water will not be as clean, fish and bird populations will suffer, and the frequency and severity of floods will increase.

Thankfully we have begun to recognize the value of wetlands, and the rate of loss has declined dramatically over the last 30 years. The Environmental Protection Agency's goal is to increase the quantity and quality of our wetlands, but there are many challenges. Wetlands are stressed by pollution, invasive species, and over development. It is important that we better manage our wetlands and work to stop their loss and restore them.

Many organizations all over the country have planned events to celebrate Wetlands Month. Why not check and see if there is one of interest in your home town?

Date: April 30, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

COUNTING EGGS BEFORE THEY HATCH

Location: Main Office
This week's conference call of the Flock Managers confirmed that this year's egg production continues to be painfully slow.

ACRES in New Orleans reported they had two eggs with expected hatch dates of May 25th and 28th. One of the two eggs shipped to Patuxent from Alberta's Calgary Zoo looks good so far, but the other less so. Calgary reported they have three more eggs, one of which was just laid today, and that they will likely ship more eggs mid-May.

The crew at Patuxent are watching 11 eggs from the captive flock there, 6 of which are known to be fertile. One is expected to be a genetic holdback, and the viability of the remaining 4 is unknown. ICF's Flock Manager was not on today's call but as of last week they reported they had not had any eggs laid.

Date: April 29, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

WHOOPERTHON 802

Location: Main Office

Illinois Super Craniac Vi White's 2007 Whooperthon fundraiser was such a resounding success that she is all set to do another. This year, Vi has renamed her fundraiser "Whooperthon 802" to match how the birds are ID'd. (8 is for 2008, the hatch year, and 2 for it being the second one.)

HOW WHOOPERTHON 802 WORKS
On Mother's Day, Vi and her daughters,
(Ellen Savage and Lynn O'Connor) will go birding and record the species they see in Vi's home area. Donors pledge an amount per species spotted, from .25¢ on up. When the species count is in, donors pay that number times their pledge.

"
We're out there having fun while benefiting a good cause, so I don't expect the count to go higher than 30 to 40 species," said Vi. "However, those who don't like uncertainty can always pledge a lump sum."

What makes Vi's Whooperthon even more special is that an anonymous generous friend of OM matches every pledge, dollar-for-dollar!! Altogether, the per species pledges and lump sum pledges can add up to a tidy sum and they are dedicated to MileMaker miles.

If you would like to make a pledge to Vi's Whooperthon 802, and support what she describes as, "my effort to make a personal difference in saving the endangered Whooping crane," simply email the amount of your pledge (per species or lump sum) along with your name and mailing address to info@operationmigration.org and we will forward it along.

Vi will email her bird count to all pledgers, collect the checks (made out to Operation Migration) and send them along to us in a bundle so we can issue tax deductible receipts. Deadline for Whooperthon 802 pledges is May 10.

Date: April 28, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

NEWS SLANT DISHEARTENING

Location: Main Office

Last week we read with concern an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel titled “Species Struggles to Take Off Again written by Lee Berquist. It called into question the reintroduction of Whooping cranes that has been taking place in Wisconsin over the last seven years, and portrayed this encouraging wildlife story in a very negative light. That was surprising to us considering it is such an exciting time for this program, and we were disappointed that a few key points were overlooked.

Since the beginning in 2001, the flock has steadily grown in size, but as the article mentions, Whooping cranes don’t mature or successfully breed until they are around five years old. That means that any bird hatched in 2004 or later has little chance of raising a chick this year. Although there are 23 birds in that category only 10 are female so we have the potential of 10 breeding pairs. In addition, Whooping cranes are not social; they don’t flock together in large numbers like Sandhill cranes, so not only must they survive until they are 5 years old, they must also find a viable mate.

According to Tracking Team data there are now 14 pairs in the population, ten of which are currently nesting. All but five of these pairs include at least one bird that is younger than normally successful breeders.

Considering it took 68 years for the only natural flock of Whooping cranes to grow from a near-extinction low of 15 in the 1940’s to the current 266,  it seem a little premature to judge this flock after only 7 years.

As Stanley A. Temple suggested in the article, the secret to any successful reintroduction is more birds. But there are only 32 breeding pairs in captivity and they can only produce so many chicks for release. As it is, we are making use of every bird available.

We must however disagree with Dr. Temple’s assertion that using the Direct Autumn Release (DAR) method would be more productive. The concept of the DAR program is to release inexperienced chicks with the experienced Whooping cranes that have already learned the migration route from their ultralight parent. It is hoped they will follow them south. So the DAR method is dependant on a larger population of experienced ultralight cranes.

As we mentioned, Whooping cranes are not social, and once they pair, they are not as receptive to adopting a strange chick. Only the juveniles that sometimes group together are likely to accept another bird.

Unfortunately the DAR birds often associate with the more congenial Sandhill cranes. The concern is that they become cross imprinted and want to breed with Sandhills once they reach that age. This is why the Grays Lake Cross-fostering project in Idaho failed in 1993 after18 years of placing Whooping crane eggs in Sandhill nests. Those Whooping cranes only wanted to breed with Sandhills, and in fact they produced at least one Whoop-hill hybrid.

Last year 10 DAR birds were released in Wisconsin. One was killed by a predator that same night. One was hit by a landing aircraft in Madison the next day while it wandered around the airport, and a third hit a powerline. Eventually, six birds remained, and all of them had to be collected from Illinois and Arkansas and relocated to a wetland in Tennessee where they spent the winter. So far none have made it back to Wisconsin and satellite data indicates that 5 are on the other side of the lake in Michigan. The Tracking Team is going to have to retrieve them once again and bring them back to Wisconsin.

In the interim all seventeen 2007 ultralight birds wintered at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida last season. One was predated in March, one was transported back due to an injury, and so far at least 13 others have made it back on their own. In fact 94% of the birds we start with each season survive to be released in Florida, and over 80% of the birds in the ultralight population return to the core reintroduction area in and around Necedah.

In the article, Dr. Temple points out that low numbers can cause a reintroduction project to fail. We agree, and believe that now is the time to be maximizing our efforts. Rather than experimenting with a new method we should be using the proven ultralight technique to its fullest potential. Each year Operation Migration requests 24 birds. Based on our track record, 23 of them would make it to Florida and 19 or 20 would be back in Wisconsin the following spring. Unfortunately we have never had that many birds in one year.

The article is also critical of the costs. Ten million dollars ($4.5 million contributed by Operation Migration from private sources) has already been spent to safeguard the species, but there is no mention of the other benefits. Not only is the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership safeguarding a keystone species from extinction but we are also introducing a flock of birds into the eastern flyway that will draw increasing tourism for decades to come.

Reintroducing a charismatic bird like the Whooping crane has also advanced habitat restoration. As an example, there is now a 10,000 acre wildlife area in Indiana safeguarded because Whooping cranes stop there.

This project has focused international attention on the State of Wisconsin and put the Necedah NWR on the map, moving it to next-in-line for a $5 million dollar visitor’s center.

The image of ancient birds following modern ultralights generates more than 500 media stories each year and provides an unprecedented opportunity to promote conservation. Together the members of Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership and its associates attract millions of visitors to their websites and reach over 750,000 school children in their classrooms annually.

It is disheartening that such a positive wildlife recovery story was presented in such a negative light considering it has focused so much attention on Wisconsin and generated so much interest in conservation, education, tourism and the plight of endangered species.

Date: April 28, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

National Volunteer Recognition Week

Location: Main Office
For Operation Migration, National Volunteer Week is about thanking one of its most valuable assets – our volunteers – and calling everyone’s attention to all that they do to make the Whooping crane reintroduction project possible. From helping with the migration to fundraising to many behind the scene supports, our volunteers donate countless hours - a few even dedicating weeks of their lives. All are an integral part of Operation Migration, and without them we could not do what we do.

Based a recent survey of adults over 21, an estimated 83.9 million people volunteered the equivalent of the work of 9 million full-time employees, at a value of $239 million. The poll revealed that almost half of the population volunteers with a formal organization, and are relied on to make many educational, health, cultural, human service and conservation programs work.

2007's theme, "Inspire By Example", reflects the power OM's volunteers have – they not only inspire others to serve, they also inspire the people they help – us. In celebration of National Volunteer Week and in recognition of all that so many do to support Operation Migration, we would like to say special thank you to each and every one for your dedication and for your friendship. Without your tireless efforts, your unstinting support and commitment, our role in safeguarding Whooping cranes would be next to impossible.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead, anthropologist

Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain love for one another.
— Erma Bombeck

Date: April 24, 2008 - Entry 4 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

MAXWELL HOUSE BREW SOME GOOD CONTEST

Location: Main Office

One of the neatest ideas we have seen in a while comes from Maxwell House. They have launched a contest they've entitled Brew Some Good.

The idea behind the contest
Maxwell House says that the average cost of producing a television advertisement is $245,000, so as an alternative, utilizing the internet, they've produced one costing just $19,000. Their
Brew Some Good contest asks – “Where should we spend the difference?”

17 Grand Prizes of $10,000 each are available to be won, with 2 winners named bi-monthly and 5 winners named at the close of the contest in March of 2009. We’d love it if Operation Migration was one of them!

Nominators and Nominees must be Canadian residents, so if you're a Canadian Craniac. log on to
www.maxwellhouse.ca click on the Brew Some Good contest icon, follow the on-screen instructions to make a nomination, and in 100 words or less, explain why/how you feel Operation Migration has/is making a difference. The earlier the nomination the better as non-winning entries automatically re-qualify for the next month’s judging.

The Nominee information they require is as follows:
Organization:          Operation Migration Inc
Address:                 3-174 Mary Street, Port Perry, ON L9L 1B7
Telephone               905-982-1096
Website address:    
www.operationmigration.org
Email address          info@operationmigration.org

C’mon Craniacs, won't you click the link to Brew Some Good and nominate OM? A few minutes of your time could mean $10,000 for Whooping cranes.

Date: April 24, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

NEW!! WHOOPING CRANE SIGHTING REPORT FORM

Location: Main Office

At long last we are able to offer Craniacs, birders, and the general public a better way to report their sightings and assist us by providing helpful information.

Thanks to efforts by Joel Trick, (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, WI), Bill Brooks (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , FL), and Beth Kienbaum (Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources), a new website to receive Whooping crane sightings is up and running.

The new form on the site prompts the observer to enter the most critical information on their sighting, which will diminish, if not do away with the need for follow-up calls and emails, and there eliminate delays in checking on the birds and confirming the sighting.

If you live in the eastern flyway and its adjacent states, please check out the Sighting Reporting Form so you will be aware of what to take note of should you spot a Whooping crane(s). We will make the link to the Reporting Form a permanent feature here on the Field Journal page.

Please feel free to pass the Sighting Reporting Form link on to others, including birding organizations, so that as many folks as possible will be aware of where to report their observations of Whooping cranes.

For those folks who reside along the western flyway – the migration route of the Wood Buffalo-Aransas population - you can report your sightings by emailing:
     martha_tacha@fws.gov – for sightings in the USA
     brian.johns@ec.gc.ca – for sightings in Canada
Useful information to send to Martha or Brian includes: where and when you saw them; how many you saw; and, their size and maturity.

Date: April 24, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

FOUR NEW NESTS CONFIRMED!!

Location: Main Office

Pairs 311 & 312* and 401 & 508* are nesting on the Necedah refuge and it is estimated that both have been incubating since around April 16.

408 and 519* are also nesting on the refuge and it appears as if they have just begun to incubate.

The next of 212 & 419*’was found in Wood County, but initiation of incubation is unknown.

This terrific news brings the total nesting pairs to 10! (see FJ Entry 1 for April 15, and Entry 2 for April 22 below) Nesting activity by the two recently formed pairs – 506 & 107* and 105 & 501* has not yet been confirmed. If 107* has finally opted for family life, it would mean that 102* and 420* (plus 205* who has been missing since last June) are the only breeding-age females in the population who are not yet paired and nesting.

So far so good for these ultralight-led birds. They have passed all but one of the 'subjects in their curriculum':
Migration skills - ü
Returning to core reintroduction area - ü
Associating/pairing with correct species - ü
Nesting behavior - ü
Parenting skills - ? (fingers crossed)

Injury
209*, mate of 416, was found to be limping severely with her right leg when their territory in Monroe County was checked. Their nest contained one broken egg (see photo by Sara Zimorski) when it was checked during an aerial survey conducted April 14.

Date: April 24, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Class of 2007 Spring Wanderings

Location: Main Office

707, 710, and 722 who had arrived in Waupaca County, WI April 21 and stopped there for two nights, took to the air yesterday. They flew over Jackson, Juneau, Adams and Monroe Counties before settling on Jackson County as a roosting spot.

703 was detected in the air yesterday as well. He passed just south of the Necedah refuge, over-flying Juneau and Adams Counties before landing in Columbia County.

Date: April 23, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

EMP 'EGG REPORT'

Location: Main Office

At the moment, Patuxent has 9 fertile eggs; 8 for the ultralight-led program and 1 is a genetic holdback which will remain in captivity. Two eggs from Calgary are being flown to Patuxent, the first of three shipments planned.
 

Two other propagation centers, the San Antonio Zoo in Texas and ACRES in Louisiana had eggs early before insemination was started so the eggs were infertile. No eggs have been produced at ICF as yet.

Date: April 22, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

EASTERN MIGRATORY POPULATION UPDATE

Location: Main Office

This update was compiled from data supplied by WCEP's Winter Monitoring & Tracking Team. As of April 21st, there were 56 Whooping cranes confirmed back in Wisconsin. With the recent discovery of the remains of two long-time missing birds (503 & 507*) the maximum number of birds in the Eastern Migratory Population is 72 – consisting of 39 males and 33 females.
* = females; DAR = Direct Autumn Release.

FLORIDA - 1
516 – Marion County, FL as of April 1

INDIANA - 3
524NFT - was reported in Fayette County April 15. He departed the next day and has not been reported since. Previous to this sighting, 524 had not been located since Nov. 23 when he was at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.

DAR740* remained with migrating Sandhills on Jasper-Pulaski FWA.

727 was north of Columbus, GA April 3; near the mid-western edge on April; then in Trousdale and Robertson County, TN when heavy rain forced her to land. April 10 with a good tailwind she carried on under cloudy skies until thunderstorms grounded her in Sullivan County, IN.

DAR527* Last reported with migrating Sandhills as she resumed migration from Jackson County, IN mid March.

ILLINOIS - 1
733 separated from 706, 712 and 713 April 5, and made his way from Dekalb County, Alabama to Jackson County, TN. April 7 he roosted in Orange County, IN and on April 8 encountered strong wind and rain near Chicago. His signal was lost and no further reports have been received.

MICHIGAN - 6
DAR533* - Mason County as of April 11
DARs 737, 739*, 742*, 744*, and 746* left Fayette County for Tuscola County, MI April 16 where they remain.

LONG TERM MISSING (MORE THAN 90 DAYS) - 2
201*NFT last recorded in WI June 9.
205NFT last recorded at Necedah NWR, WI Oct. 16.

IN WISCONSIN (list does not include pairs shown below)
101, 102*
216NFT
307, 316NFT
402, 412, 420*
509, 511, 512, 514, 520* DAR528*
DAR627, DAR628
703, 706, 707, 709, 710, 716, 717, 712, 713, 721, 722*, 724, 726, 735*

REPRODUCTION
As of April 14th, six pairs have nested and are currently incubating.
211 & 217* incubating since ~April 7
213 & 218* incubating since ~April 8
403 & 309* incubating since ~April 8
318 & 313* incubating since ~April 13
317 & 303* incubating since ~April 9
505 & 415* incubating since before April 14
While the behavior of two pairs – 311 & 312* and 401 and 508* - indicate possible nesting, confirmation that they are incubating cannot be made until an aerial survey is conducted.

ADDITIONAL PAIRS
416NFT & 209*NFT - one bird observed April 14 standing near an empty nest but when later observed the pair was not nesting.
212NFT & 419*NFT left Pasco County, FL March 6 and have not been detected since. (Since receiving data from trackers we have had reports of a pair in MN which could possibly be this pair.)
408 & 519* were on the refuge but as of April 19 were not nesting.
506 & 107* a newly formed pair were in Adams County. Not nesting as of April 19. The area they are in is currently being disturbed by road construction following logging.
105 & 501* were on the refuge but as of April 19 were not nesting.
310 & W601* a newly formed pair were on the refuge. They built a nest but did not produce eggs.

Date: April 22, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

WHOOPERS NEARING WOOD BUFFALO NATIONAL PARK

Location: Main Office

April 18th a large low pressure system moved into Alberta and Saskatchewan bringing varying amounts of snow to the southern prairies. The unfavorable migrating conditions grounded many birds leading to a lot of reports from observers.

“Winds are out of the west today,” said Canadian Wildlife Service biologist Brian Johns, “but the skies are clearing so crane migration will resume any day.” Brian said the following reports had come in from across southern Saskatchewan in the last week:

DATE - April # BIRDS LOCATION

5

4

Saskatoon

10

2

Waseca

12

2

Delaronde Lake

15

3

St. Denis

18

3

McLean

18

3

Last Mountain Lake

18-19

3

Meadow Lake

18-20

2

Leoville

19

2

St. Victor

19

8

Dummer

19

2

Debden

20

2

Moose Jaw

20

3

Lockwood

20

7

Colonsay

21

2

Tessier

21

2:1

Saskatoon

Date: April 21, 2008 - Entry 4 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Mortalities further shrink EMP numbers

Location: Main Office

The number of Whooping cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population was reduced by two today with the location of the remains of two long-time missing birds, 503 and 507* in Wood County, WI.

Trackers recovered the remains of 503 "on and under a floating peat mat,” said Richard Urbanek, “and 507’s were found about in a sedge marsh about 45 yards away.” Only bones and decomposed feathers of the sibling pair were found.

Until April 7th, when their radio signals were picked up by Intern Colleen Wisinski, these two birds had gone detected since May of last year. The mortality site was only a half a mile from last May’s location, "an indication" said Urbanek, "that death had occurred shortly after that final observation, and the faint signals from their transmitters had escaped detection."

Date: April 21, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

DOUBLE THE CELEBRATION

Location: Main Office

If geography isn't an obstacle, you might think of doubling your fun by marking Earth Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK)

DAK opened its doors in 1998 on April 22nd to coincide with Earth Day, and tomorrow marks Animal Kingdom’s Tenth Anniversary.

Dr. Jane Goodall, conservationist, and the world’s leading primotologist who was presented with DAK’s Eco Hero Award at the parks' opening 10 years ago, will again be on hand to join in the tenth anniversary celebrations. Dr. Goodall will host a global youth summit attended by young people from around the world along with hundreds of Disney cast members.

Happy Anniversary Animal Kingdom!! – To our many good friends at Disney, and to the hundreds of
cast members at Animal Kingdom on 10 years of outstanding work on behalf of the world’s animals - OM sends its thanks and congratulations.

Date: April 21, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

more Class of 2007 JUVENILES BACK 'HOME'

Location: Main Office

716, 717, 721, 724, and 726 completed their migration on Saturday, April 19. Shortly before noon that day, they were near the Necedah NWR and circled over portions of Juneau, Adams, Monroe, and Wood Counties before landing not far from Sprague Pool.

After leaving their wintering site on the Chassahowitzka NWR on March 26, they made stops along their way north at Calhoun County, GA (1 night), Coffee County, TN (4 nights), Daviess County, IN (16 nights), Jefferson County, WI (2nights), and Columbia County, WI (1night).

709 made it back to the central Wisconsin area April 4, and recuperating 735 was transported on March 28. The rest of the Class of 2007 are still on their way. (Photo by ICF intern Eva Szyszkoski)

Date: April 21, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO FOR EARTH DAY?

Location: Main Office

Tomorrow, April 22 is Earth Day! Protecting the planet goes hand-in-hand with understanding how people and places are interconnected, so there's no better time to help expand your, and your kids’ global understanding.

Founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Excerpt below is from
Earth Day Network's Website Click the link to visit the EDN site.

History of Earth Day
Earth Day -- April 22 -- each year marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

Among other things, 1970 in the United States brought with it the Kent State shootings, the advent of fiber optics, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Apollo 13, the Beatles' last album, the death of Jim Hendrix, the birth of Mariah Carey, and the meltdown of fuel rods in the Savannah River nuclear plant near Aiken, South Carolina -- an incident not acknowledged for 18 years.

It was into such a world that the very first Earth Day was born.

Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest "to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda. It was a gamble," he recalls, "but it worked."

At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Environment was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.

Earth Day 1970 turned that all around.

On April 22, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, and his youthful staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.

Sen. Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the highest honor given to civilians in the United States -- for his role as Earth Day founder.

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues on to the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. Earth Day 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. For 2000, Earth Day had the Internet to help link activists around the world. By the time April 22 rolled around, 5,000 environmental groups around the world were on board, reaching out to hundreds of millions of people in a record 184 countries. Events varied: A talking drum chain traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa, for example, while hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., USA.

Earth Day 2000 sent the message loud and clear that citizens the world 'round wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy.

Now, the fight for a clean environment continues. We invite you to be a part of this history and a part of Earth Day. Discover energy you didn't even know you had. Feel it rumble through the grass roots under your feet and the technology at your fingertips. Channel it into building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come.

Date: April 20, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

ST. MARKS NWR SEEKS SUPPORT

Location: Main Office

In an online message posted April 18th to www.wakulla.com, Refuge Manager, Terry Peacock wrote that the more letters of support received from individuals and organizations for bringing Whooping cranes to St. Marks, the faster the process would go.

She said that letters of support should mention the WCEP proposal to bring wintering Whooping cranes to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. She asked that those living locally also mention that they are not opposed to Mensler and Cow Creeks being closed to the public from December 1- March 30.

The letters can be mailed to:
Stephen Murphy, Environmental Specialist
Northwest District Branch Office
630-3 Capital Circle Northeast
Tallahassee, FL 32301

or sent by email to
stephen.murphy@dep.state.fl.us

Date: April 15, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

NESTING - PAIRING SCORECARD

Location: Main Office

As of this week, we have six pairs on nests at the Necedah Refuge. The incubating pairs are: (* = female)
211 & 217*
These are the parents of Wild601 who we dubbed, the ‘First Family’. While 211 & 217* nested and incubated last year, they, along with several other 2007 incubating pairs abandoned their nest and no chicks were produced.

213 & 218*
In 2006 this pair wandered off their nest for a prolonged period and their two eggs were collected to avoid predation. These eggs which were transported and hatched at Patuxent, produced chicks 602 (which became part of the ultralight-led program) and 603 (which was euthanized due to health problems). In 2007 the pair began incubating April 16 but abandoned the nest April 20 and did not return. Their single egg was collected, incubated and the chick, 717* became one of the ultralight-led Class of 2007.

309* & 403
It appears that our gypsy bird, 309*'s wandering days are over. For the first time ever, she returned to the Necedah refuge under her own steam. On her first return migration in the spring of 2004, she and eight of her flock mates were flushed from their roost by people trying to see them, and they took off into the darkness. That disturbance, compounded by a strong wind from the west, pushed them to the east side of Lake Michigan - and 309*’s wanderings began. She spent her first summer in the wild in Michigan. In her various past travels she has also been in Ohio, New York, Vermont , North and South Carolina, and Ontario, Canada.

In the fall of 2005 she was collected from North Carolina and relocated to Florida, eventually becoming buddies with 520* at the Chassahowitzka pen where she spent much of the 05/06 winter season. On the 2006 spring migration she and 520* traveled north together with 309* obviously leading the way. In April the two birds left Huron County, Michigan and moved into Ontario, Canada before re-entering the U.S. to roost in Jefferson County, New York in a spot just 25 miles from two summer locations 309* had frequented in 2005. Both birds subsequently moved to Lewis County, NY and then to Addison County, VT to 309*’s 2005 spring territory.

In early May of 2006, 309* and 520* were retrieved from Lewis County, NY and transported to Necedah NWR and released. Until her capture and relocation to Necedah, 309* had never returned to Wisconsin since the day she left back in 2003 behind OM's ultralights. She was again trans-located from New York State to Necedah in 2007.

This pair bond was established in the fall of 2007 when wandering 309*, newly-captured-and-returned-to-Wisconsin, met 403. The migrated south, wintered, and returned north together this spring. 403 obviously exerted more influence than did 309*'s previous buddy, 407. Somewhere along 2007's spring migration, gypsy 309* split from 407, and while 407 carried on to Necedah, 309* traveled through Michigan and then into southwestern Ontario before heading for familiar territory in New York State.

This is the first attempt at parenthood for both birds.

313* & 318
313 lost her mate, 208, in the fall of 2006 when he was injured in Indiana during migration and subsequently died. 313 remained at their Indiana stopover site all winter, eventually returning to Necedah from there. 318 has somewhat of a chequered past. In 2005 he wintered in the Carolinas, and in the spring of 2006 was retrieved from Michigan and taken to Necedah. In the fall of '06 he was again seen in Michigan and then was not detected again until he appeared at his old wintering haunt in South Carolina. On his spring migration last year he again went to Michigan, but this time moved on, successfully navigating his way around Lake Michigan to Necedah, making it the first time he 'did it alone'. This past fall 313* and 318 migrated south together and returned together to Necedah in early April. Neither have incubated before.

303* & 317
This is a sibling pair. 303 paired with 408 after her pair bond with 216 dissolved. 317 disrupted that pair bond after death of his mate 203*, and paired with 303. They nested in the spring of 2007 but abandoned it only to nest again and begin incubating in mid May. Because they are full siblings it was decided to do an egg swap to help ensure genetic diversity among the reintroduced wild flock. When ICF staff visited the nest 317 was incubating and both cranes flushed from the area. The egg swap was done but when the adults did not return to the nest, the 'good' egg was retrieved and replaced with a fake egg.

415* & 505
In December of 2007, 505 was found with 415 in TN where they stayed for for the winter. They migrated back to Necedah together this spring. This will be the first attempt at breeding and nesting for both.

Several other pairs (and possible pairs) are in the core reintroduction area and hopefully some will also nest. They include:
209* & 416
In 2006, our third most experienced nest builder, 209*, lost her clutch with then mate (and sibling 302) about two weeks into the incubation period. Male 302 was later predated and 209* subsequently paired with 416. They didn't stick with the first nest they built in 2007, but did lay an egg in a second next they built later. The nest was not successful.
212 & 419*
These two migrated together in the fall of 2006 and went undetected from the end of November through late February when they were observed on Okefenokee NWR in Georgia. They returned to WI together in the spring and again visited Georgia in the fall of 2007 before wintering in Pasco County, FL.
310 & & W601*
310 and 501* left Necedah together on migration last fall and wintered together in South Carolina. When they arrived back in Necedah in March '08, DAR627 disrupted their pair bond, and 310 in turn disrupted the association of W601* and 307. They have built a nest but have not been observed copulating and they are not incubating.
311 & 312*
Apparently 311 and 312* are associating and may be a pair, which would leave 316 (previously with 312*) out in the cold.
105 & 501*
310, who ‘left’ 501* for W601 is now on his own as 105 moved in to associate with 501*.

Date: April 11, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

FLORIDA NON MIGRATORY POPULATION UPDATE

Location: Main Office

Marty Folk wrote to tell us that the Kissimmee Lake pair and their chick have moved away from the lake to their traditional territory where recent rains have left water in the marshes. "This is good news," said Marty, "as it decreases the threat of human disturbance."

By last Saturday morning, a pair in another area had successfully hatched two chicks. "Tuesday morning, people living near the pond where the nest was located heard a commotion and the Whoopers calling before daylight," Folk said. "Later, the Whooping crane pair was observed without chicks and they spent a lot of time flying over the area."

"When Kathy, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Conservation Commission, boated out to check the nest she found it floating over deep water making it easily accessible to alligators or otters," Marty said. "She reported that the nest revealed no clues to assist in determining the fate of the chicks."

Date: April 11, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

WELCOME BACK

Location: Main Office

There is something addictive about Whooping cranes. Once you get involved in this project you find it hard to give up. You start out with a casual interest, and the more you learn the deeper you get until it takes over your life, modifies your behaviour, changes your values and before you know it you are a confirmed Craniac.

Each of us in the office has been afflicted with this malady and even those who were able to kick the habit eventually succumb.

Heather Ray is one of those who fell off the Whooper wagon. Now, after a three year absence, she is back with us again. Heather will concentrate her efforts on grant writing and fundraising and we are very excited about the possibilities.

With a new route this year, the prospects of an abundant breeding season, and the possibility of up to 24 chicks, it is going to be a very exciting year.

Date: April 10, 2008 - Entry 3 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Wood Buffalo-Aransas Population Update

Location: Main Office

The latest aerial Whooping crane census at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas located just 34 Whooping cranes. The rest of the flock has started the migration. USF&WS observers Tom Stehn and Darrin Welchert conducted the survey in a Cessna 210 piloted by Gary Ritchey of Air Logistic Solutions of San Antonio, Texas. Tom noted the flight covered nearly the entire wintering area, but the wide transects flown may have resulted in a few cranes being overlooked.

Whooping crane Coordinator, Tom Stehn, estimated that the flock size remained at a record 266, consisting of 144 adults, 83 sub-adults, and 39 juveniles. "There is no evidence of any Whooping crane mortality having occurred this winter," said Tom.

"I estimate that 87% of the Whooping crane flock has started the migration,” Stehn said. "So far, 17 groups of Whooping cranes have been reported all the way from central Texas to South Dakota. Most sightings have come from Kansas and Nebraska. It is interesting to note," he said, "that the cranes currently as far north as Nebraska will be held up by a snow storm and unfavorable winds in that state over the next few days."

At Aransas, all 34 cranes still present may be sub-adults. In only one instance was a duo seen on Ayres Island that could have been an adult breeding pair. "Thus," concluded Tom, "the breeding pairs have started the migration earlier than in years past." Frequently some adult cranes don’t start the migration until mid-April. "I think this earlier migration may be tied to the good food resources available to the cranes throughout most of the winter, leaving them in good condition to start the migration," he added.

The pre-migration body condition of the cranes at Aransas is very important since the 3-4 week migration to Canada will not include much feeding, and conditions may be still very cold with only limited food available when they first reach their nesting grounds. Migration is generally a hard time for wildlife species with long distance movements allowing little time to find food to eat.

Date: April 10, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

BITS OF EMP NEWS

Location: Main Office

In addition to some pair bond changes (see EMP update below), the news is that there has been lots of movement by the Whooping cranes that have already made it back to the core reintroduction area in Wisconsin.

Noteworthy is the fact that for the first time, 309* returned to Necedah under her own steam (instead of her usual wander north before heading for New York state) – likely due to her new association with 403. Also encouraging was 318 returning to Necedah instead of once again heading for Michigan.

107* was also reported in Adams County very near to Necedah. She spends her summers near Horicon Marsh but was seen close to the Necedah refuge last year as well. So far 107* has not shown any propensity to associate with other Whooping cranes on the breeding grounds, but there has been some association between her and 506 so we remain hopeful.

735 is faring just fine in his temporary pen on the refuge, and physical therapy will resume once the tracking team is on site.

As for this week’s conference call of the flock managers, the breeding program at Calgary Zoo has the most eggs with a count of 7 so far. Patuxent is next with 4, and ACRES in Louisiana has 2. The fertility of most of the eggs is not yet known. The San Antonio zoo had two eggs, both of which were infertile, and no eggs have been produced so far at ICF.

Assuming fertility and safe transport, it appears one of the Calgary eggs will be the first hatch at Patuxent – around May 3rd.

Date: April 10, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

EASTERN MIGRATORY POPULATION UPDATE

Location: Main Office

This update for the period ended March 30 was compiled from data supplied by WCEP's Winter Monitoring & Tracking Team. The estimated maximum size of the Eastern Migratory Population is 74; 40 males and 34 females. * = females; DAR = Direct Autumn Release.

FLORIDA
516 Marion County

Alabama
706, 712, 713 DeKalb County

Tennessee
703; 707, 710 ,722 Bledscoe County

Indiana
408, 514, 510*, 519*,716*, 717*, 721*, 724, 726* Daviess County
733 Orange County
DARs 737, 739*, 742*, 744*, 746* Fayette County
DAR740 Jackson County

Michigan
Van Buren County DAR533*

LOCATION UNKNOWN
311 (did not appear at Necedah with mate of 312*)
415* (mate of 505 not yet detected at Necedah)
520* (left Meigs County, TN by Mar 14)
DAR527* (last reported in Jackson County, IN ~Mar 16.)
727* (last detected in GA Apr 3)

LONG TERM MISSING (MORE THAN 90 DAYS)
- 201*NFT last recorded in WI June 9
- 205NFT last recorded at Necedah NWR, WI Oct. 16
- 509 last recorded in Lake County, FL Jan. 9
- 524 NFT last recorded at Jasper-Pulaski FWA, IN Nov. 23
- 503 & 507* last recorded in Wood County, WI May 26

Wisconsin
­     -101; 102*; 105 (his pair bond with 420* has dissolved); 107 (observed associating with 506)
­     209* & 416; 211 & 217* (First Family began incubating Apr 7); 212 & 419*; 213 & 218*; 216 (seen nearby 735's* pen)
­     303* and 317; 307; 310 and 501* (observed copulating Mar 30 but DAR627 broke the pair bond on Apr 4 and paired with 501*. W601* was observed with 310 Apr 7); 309* & 403; 310 & 501*; 312* (her mate 311 has a non functional transmitter and is not yet confirmed back in WI); 313* & 318; 316
­     401 & 508*; 402; 408 & 519*, 412; 420* (she separated from 105 either during or at the end of the migration)
­     505; 506; 511; 512; 514NFT; DAR528*
­     W601* (sometimes associating with 307, sometimes with 310)
­     DAR 627, DAR 628
­     709 (first ’07 bird to return to WI. He overflew Necedah to an unknown location.); 735 (transported from FL)

Unidentified
Two Whooping cranes were reported in Columbia County Mar 23. Several other reports of Whooping cranes in Wisconsin were received but could not be confirmed. A pair of Whooping cranes was reported and photographed in Green/Lafayette Counties, WI Mar 23.

Date: April 5, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

New program for Craniacs

Location: Main Office
Each year, OM team members make countless presentations to audiences big and small, young and old. Through our presentations, we not only educate folks about our work to safeguard the Whooping crane, we also carry a broader message - the importance of conservation. We see these presentations as being vital to generating public interest in wildlife conservation, and to promoting the preservation and conservation of their habitats.

Because of our limited human and financial resources we often have to decline invitations and requests for presentations, missing out on many opportunities to 'spread the word'. This is where you come in. Over the years many of you have asked for materials that you could use to give presentations to small groups in your home town. We heard you, and started work on what we named 'OM's GrassRoots Kit'. It was a long time in the development, but we can now offer it to interested Craniacs who are comfortable presenting to groups of people. (Our thanks go to Peter Vander Sar of Mara, British Columbia for his help with the Kit.)

OM's GrassRoots Kit comes on a CD, and includes a PowerPoint presentation, an accompanying script for you follow, and simple instructions/explanations for their use, as well as for reporting back to us. All you need is a computer and access to a digital projector, and of course, an interested audience.

We invite any interested supporter willing to give presentations to public or private groups on OM's behalf, to request a copy of the GrassRoots CD. Just send an email to info@operationmigration.org with the word 'GrassRoots' in the subject line. In the body of your email, please tell us the date, location and expected number of attendees at your presentation, and also include the type/name of group (i.e. Lions Club, group of friends, school children, etc). And oh yes, don't forget to include your full name and address of where we should send your Kit.

Date: April 5, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

How easily is wildness ‘undone’?

Location: Main Office

We recently received an email from OM supporter Sandy Blakeney of Wisconsin.

Sandy wrote, "I saw your recent post about people going out to see the cranes. I know that you have already strongly urged people to stay away, but it reminded me of the description on the Journey North site of 'taming' 109, a bird in the Class of 2001. 109 had to be removed from the project, so staff needed to purposefully undo the arduous training and protocol that had kept her wild."

She went on to say that a write-up about the'taming’'of 109 on Journey North's website has always stayed with her because it was so stunning how quickly the change was accepted by this crane. Sandy suggested we share the JN article with OM readers, and with acknowledgement to both the author and Journey North we do so here.

The Story of Crane #9 [Hatch Year 2001] by Jennifer Rabuck, Ranger, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
Early Wing Injury
Before the new chicks left Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, two of the cranes suffered wing injuries. Female Crane #9 and male Crane #4 were both treated for the minor wing problems.

When the flock arrived at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, WCEP team members were hopeful about the birds' chance to "make the team." In captivity, recovery is difficult for cranes with this type of injury. They usually can't exercise and develop muscles that help control their wings. Being included in this study actually increases their chances of recovery; they are able to exercise and strengthen their wings by flying almost daily and using those muscles.

Flight School Goes Well, Until…
It appeared that things were working out for the two birds ith wing problems. Both seemed to heal and hold their wings more naturally against their bodies. Both took flight. As training time in the air grew gradually longer to build endurance, the future looked bright for them. Then #9 began to drop out of the daily training behind the ultralight. She returned to the marsh below as her flockmates continued flying. This new behavior occurred more and more consistantly, but always after about the same amount of flight time.

The Verdict on Sept. 11
On September 11, 2001 (a fateful day in many ways that none of us will forget), WCEP veterinarians did a pre-migration health check on the chicks that would migrate with the ultralight plane. They put identification bands and radio telemetry transmitters on each crane. During the exam, they discovered that Crane #9 had major problems with her flight feathers. The feathers were obviously deformed. They showed many fault bars and stress lines, which are weaknesses in the feathers.

To make matters worse, #9 was very submissive. When the other birds showed dominance, she cowered and eventually ended up secluded from the flock. This could have been a side effect due to the timing of her injury, as it occurred during important periods of socialization and flock development. Crane #9, however, will not depart on the migration with the other cranes. It is estimated that it could take a few years for new, healthy feathers to replace those slowly molted, allowing her to become fully functional in the air. That makes her an unsuccessful candidate for reintroduction since the crane's first migratory flight is the one they mimic thereafter. So Crane #9 will go to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.

The End of Training and Start of Taming
Crane #9 had never seen a human not covered by a costume. She had never heard a human voice. This crane had been kept as wild as possible. Now she must be prepared to handle the opposite situation. As a display bird at the zoo, she will be very close to people and non-natural things.

Crane #9 Sees a Human Face
I was asked to assist with her taming process. I went with Dan Sprague, a USGS Biologist responsible for hatching and rearing the cranes. Dan was in costume to provide a familiar "face" and to be able to approach her if needed without adding stress. It felt strange for me to be on the rearing site again. I worked for many days preparing the site for the cranes' arrival, but I had not been back there for several months. Knowing a rare whooping crane was just on the other side of the fence, I felt out of place. I was breaking the protocol that is so vital to this project — but now, that was exactly what I was supposed to do!

Dan opened the pen and walked in. After removing his hood and getting no real reaction from #9, he told me to come into the pen. When I cleared the fencing, I saw the beautiful crane in her marsh environment. Dan told me she then showed the most dominance he had ever seen from her. She held her head up very high and showed displaced aggression by pulling at weeds in the water. She kept her distance while watching me intently. I was in the pen less than 10 minutes, but by the time I left, she was almost ignoring me. It was that quick and simple to undo so much that the biologists had worked for! It was that easy to undo all that the protocol had safeguarded. It was such an honor to be present, even though I knew that she could never go back to being a wild, release-able bird after our encounter.

Date: April 3, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Whooping Crane Numbers

Location: Main Office

Thanks to Tom Stehn, Co-Chair of the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team for the stats and information below.

WHOOPING CRANE NUMBERS IN NORTH AMERICA As of March 31, 2008

WILD POPULATIONS

 

ADULT

YOUNG

TOTAL

ADULT PAIRS

Aransas/Wood Buffalo

227

39

A266

69

Rocky Mountains

0

0

0

0

Florida Non-Migratory

B3 6

1

B37

13

Eastern Migratory

52

C22

D74

4

Subtotal in the Wild

315

62

377

90

A    A record 84 chicks hatched from 65 nests in 2007.  Forty chicks fledged. The peak flock size of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population is estimated at 266, including 39 juveniles.

B    This number reflects the birds regularly monitored in Florida.  A few additional cranes could be present in unknown locations.  One chick fledged in the wild in 2007.

C    The 5 whooping crane breeding facilities (Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, International Crane Foundation, Calgary Zoo, San Antonio Zoo, and Species Survival Center in New Orleans) all either provided eggs or hatched and raised chicks in 2007. Two eggs came from a wild nest in Florida and 2 eggs came from wild nests in Wisconsin. Twenty-eight chicks were raised in captivity and shipped to the Necedah NWR in central Wisconsin for later reintroduction. Seventeen were led by ultralight to Florida, and 10 were released with other wild cranes in central Wisconsin.  Four of the 10 have died, and one juvenile ultralight crane died in TN in the spring migration.

D    The flock total includes 3 adults that have not been sighted for some time and are considered “missing”.
 

CAPTIVE POPULATIONS

ADULT

YOUNG*

TOTAL

BREEDING PAIRS

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Laurel, Maryland

60

3

63

13

International Crane Foundation
Baraboo, Wisconsin

35

0

35

11

Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre Calgary, Alberta

20

2

22

6

Species Survival Center
New Orleans, Louisiana

9

0

9

1

Calgary Zoo
Calgary, Alberta

2

0

2

0

New Orleans Zoo
New Orleans, Louisiana

2

0

2

0

San Antonio Zoo
San Antonio, Texas

7

0

7

1

Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park Homosassa, Florida

2

0

2

0

Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa, Florida

1

0

1

0

Jacksonville Zoo
Jacksonville, Florida

2

0

2

0

Milwaukee County Zoo
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1

0

1

0

Subtotal in Captivity

141

5

146

32

* Numbers are of young remaining at the captive centers after eggs and/or birds were shipped out for reintroduction programs. In most cases, these young are genetically valuable and will become future captive breeding stock.

TOTALS (WILD + CAPTIVE)      377 + 146= 523

Date: March 31, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Joe Duff

Subject:

EMP NEWS

Location: Main Office

The spring migration is in full swing with the last of the 2007 cohort leaving Chass on Saturday under their own steam. On the day before, 735, our youngest bird, had some help getting home and will be the first of the Class of 2007 to make it back to Wisconsin.

She has not flown since the end of January due to a soft tissue wing injury sustained during the post migration health checks. She received some physiotherapy and there was noticeable improvement, but muscle atrophy meant that she would not likely make the migration.

The Monitoring and Tracking team had to move north with the migrating birds so a plan was organized to airlift her to Necedah. Windway Capital Corporation, who provide aircraft for tracking and to move our chicks from Patuxent to Necedah every spring, had an aircraft in Florida. They transported the bird to their home base in Sheboygan in a Cessna Citation and transferred her to the company Cessna Caravan for the flight to Necedah.

Before that could happen however, Chris Gullikson shovelled the OM travel pen trailer out of our hangar and, with the help of the refuge staff, set it up at Site 1. A team from ICF, the Fish and Wildlife Service will tend to the bird until it can fly. Now that 735 isn’t facing a 1200 mile migration it only needs to recover well enough to fly locally and then it can be released again. A great effort by the vet team at Disney, many of the partners and supporters like Windway Capital have given this bird one more chance at being wild.

The snow almost gone, the temperatures are warming, and many of the older birds (see below) are back in Necedah and on their territories. Seems that spring is finally on its way. (Photo above of 735's temporary home at Necedah while she recovers from her wing injury.)

As of yesterday, March 30th, 27 Whooping cranes were on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. They were:
101, 102*, 105
211 & 217*, 213 & 218*
307, 309* & 403, 310 & 501*, 303* & 317, 312*, 316
402, 401 & 508*, 408 & 519*, 412
511, 505, 512, 514
W601*
735*

As a result of her pairing with 403, female 309* has returned directly to Necedah. This is the first spring migration that 309* , the 'gypsy bird', has not wandered before eventually summering elsewhere. In 2004 she summered in Michigan and in 2005 in New York. In the fall of '05 she was retrieved from North Carolina and transported and released in Florida. In the spring of 2006 she again migrated to New York and was retrieved and transported to Necedah. Ditto in the spring of 2007. She began associating with 403 the day after her release on the refuge in October 2007, and they build two nests before migrating to Florida. Since their return they have been observed defending their territory against 213 and 218*.

310 and 501* were observed copulating as was one other pair believed to be 213 & 218*. 307 was seen attempting to dance towards W601*

714* is the second spring migration mortality, apparently as a result of predation. Her remains, which are being sent to the National Wildlife Heath Center for necropsy, were found in Bledsoe County, TN Sunday, March 30.

Trackers reported that 714* left Chass on March 25 with 703, 707, 709, 710 and 722*. The roosted that night in Worth County, GA where 710 and 722* separated from the group. The two groups resumed migrating separately the next morning but both roosted that evening in the Bledsoe County, TN area.

On March 28th, 707 was with 710 and 722 and 703 was found on March 30 five miles away. 709 has not been detected since the evening of March 26.

Photos below provided by R. Urbanek

Above: In the foreground, the First Family, 211 & 217 forage. In the background on the other side of Rynearson Pool are pairs 309* & 403 and 213 & 218.

Below: 303 & 317

Above: Pairs 309* & 403 and 213 & 218.
 



Below: 211 & 217

Date: March 27, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Class of 2007 on the move

Location: Main Office
703, 707, 709, 710, 714*, and 722* were the first six juveniles to leave Chassahowitzka (March 25) to begin their spring migration. Their first stop was in Worth County, GA where 710 and 722 separated to roost in a nearby location. The group of four resumed migrating at dawn on the 26th, and the other two left later in the morning.

Other birds from the Class of 2007 also on migration are 716*, 717*, 721*, 724, and 726*. They left the Chass refuge yesterday, the 26th. (Photos provided by Richard Urbanek.)

703, 707, 709, and 714 in Georgia. 710 and 722 roost separately in Georga.

Date: March 27, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Florida non-migratory population update

Location: Main Office

Marty Folk, biologist with the Florida Fish and Conservation Commission reported that by March 21, one nest had successfully hatched two chicks. "Unfortunately on that day, while the parents were 100 yards away with one chick, crows took the other chick off the nest and ate it," Marty said. The parents continue to tend the one chick in the vicinity of their next.

A second pair began incubating March 5th on the same small 'lake' they used last year, and Marty is using video surveillance at the nest to collect data. A third pair built a platform but has not yet laid. Folk noted, "Marsh water levels are still very low to non-existent, and if they do lay there, it will be the third nest on a lake this year."

Date: March 26, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Class of 2007 on the move - and chick news

Location: Main Office

We don't yet know which ones, but 11 of the Class of 2007 have left Chassahowitzka and are enroute north. 6 departed yesterday afternoon, and another 5 left this morning.

 

CHICK NEWS

So far only one egg has been laid (March 20) at Patuxent and it was broken. The San Antonio Zoo also has one egg (March 22) but its fertility is unknown. The Calgary Zoo reports they had an egg laid on March 23 but they suspect it is not fertile.

Date: March 25, 2008 - Entry 2 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Wood Buffalo-Aransas Population Update

Location: Main Office

According to Tom Stehn, Whooping crane Coordinator at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, the 'western migration' is officially underway. Tom said he saw 5 Whooping cranes, a group of 2 and a group of 3, start off on migration this morning when the unfavorable winds of the last two days strengthened and turned around today. "Skies were clear," said Tom. "I watched the birds disappear from sight and figured they were on their way."

Tom reported the cranes should have favorable migration weather again tomorrow. While it is still early for many Whooping cranes to start the return trip north, he anticipates as many as 20 to 30 birds may depart Aransas before March is out. "The vast majority of the population leave usually leave the first two weeks of April with peak departures between the 4th and the 12th," Stehn said.

Date: March 25, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

Eastern Migratory Population Update

Location: Main Office

This update for the period ended March 22 was compiled from data supplied by WCEP's Winter Monitoring & Tracking Team. With the mortality of DAR743 as the result of an apparent powerline collision in Indiana, the estimated maximum size of the Eastern Migratory Population is reduced to 75; 40 males and 35 females. * = females; DAR = Direct Autumn Release.

Appropriately, 101, the very first reintroduced Whooping crane was the first bird to complete the spring migration and is back on his territory in Wisconsin.

FLORIDA - 20
Marion County: 516
Pasco County: DAR626; DAR627
Citrus County/Chassahowitzka NWR – 17 (Class of 2007)
The juveniles roosted on or near the man-made oyster bar each night with several exceptions. 16 birds were led/herded/called, or flushed into the pen on March 14 and 12 on March 15. Predators and predation: On March 21 and 22, bobcat scat was observed on the boat dock and on the trail through the blind island. The Monitoring Team discontinued the morning daily visit to the pensite on March 13.
Maturation
710 and 735* are the only juveniles still retaining their chick voices.
Water Levels/Salinity
Highest recorded tide was 23 inches on the evening of March 12. Salinity was 18-22 ppt during the report period.
Health Concerns
Beginning March 11, 735* was given physical therapy. By March 18 no stiffness remained in her right wing, although she makes little effort to extend her wings nor any attempt to fly.

LOCATION UNKNOWN - 5
- 209* & 416 – last recorded in Carroll County, GA Feb. 2. (2 birds reported Feb. 7 in Lowndes County may have been this pair.)
- 303* & 317 last recorded in Marion County, FL Feb. 5
- 509 last recorded in Lake County, FL Jan. 11

LONG TERM MISSING (MORE THAN 90 DAYS) - 5
- 201*NFT last recorded in WI June 9
- 205NFT last recorded at Necedah NWR, WI Oct. 16
- 524 NFT last recorded at Jasper-Pulaski FWA, IN Nov. 23
- 503 & 507* last recorded in Wood County, WI May 26

ON SPRING MIGRATION

CRANE #

LEFT

FROM (County)

LOCATION/ARRIVED (County)

101

Feb. 29

Citrus, FL

First to arrive at Necedah ~Mar. 14

102*

Mar. 2

Green, IN

Necedah, Mar. 23

105 & 420*

?

?

Left Warren, KY Mar. 8

107*

Feb 14

Meigs, TN

Starke, IN Mar. 8-11

211 & 217*

Feb. 16-17

Hernando, FL

Unknown

212 & 419*

Mar. 6

Pasco, FL

Unknown

213 & 218*

Mar 11-18

Morgan, AL

Unknown

216

Feb. 29

Pasco, FL

Unknown

307

See Note B

?

Arrived Necedah Mar. 23

310 & 501*

Mar. 13-17

Colleton, SC

Unknown

311 & 312*

Mar. 15-16

Colleton, SC

Unknown

316

Feb. 24-26

Marion, FL

Unknown

318 & 313*

?

Unknown

Madison, FL Mar. 10/Unknown

402

Mar. 17

Lake, FL

Unknown

403 & 309*

Feb. 28

Levy, FL

Madison, FL Feb 28/Unknown

408

Feb. 26

Hillsborough, FL

Unknown See Note A

410 & 508*

Mar 17~

Davidson, TN

Unknown

412

Mar. 17

Lake, FL

Unknown

415

Feb. 26

Hillsborough, FL

Unknown

505 & 415*

Feb 28-Mar 2

Meigs, TN

Jackson, IN Mar. 18

506

Mar. 4

Sumter, FL

Unknown

511

Feb. 24-26

Marion, FL

Unknown

512

See Note B

?

Houston, MN Mar 15/Unknown

514

Feb. 26

Hillsborough, FL

Unknown See Note A

519*

Feb. 26

Hillsborough, FL

Unknown See Note A

520*

Feb 28-Mar. 14

Meigs, TN

Unknown

DAR527*

Feb 28-Mar 3

Meigs, TN

Jackson, IN Mar. 3/Unknown

DAR528*

Feb 28-Mar12

Meigs, TN

Jackson, IN Mar.13/Unknown

DAR533*

Feb. 14-26

Meigs, TN

Jackson, IN Mar. 2/Unknown

W601*

Mar. 9

Hernando, FL

Thomas, GA Mar. 9/Unknown

DAR740*

Mar. 1 - 2

Obion, TN

Gifford, IN Mar. 22

DAR737

Mar. 16

Meigs, TN

Fayette, IN Mar. 21

DAR739*

Mar. 16

Meigs, TN

Fayette, IN Mar. 21

DAR742*

Mar. 16

Meigs, TN

Fayette, IN Mar. 21

DAR744

Mar. 16

Meigs, TN

Fayette, IN Mar. 21

DAR746*

Mar. 16

Meigs, TN

Fayette, IN Mar. 21


Note A: A report on March 18 of three Whooping cranes in Morrison County, Minnesota may have been of these birds.

Note B:
307 and 512 were reported together Mar. 14 and 15 in Houston County, MN. 307 has last been recorded Nov. 30 at an autumn migration stop in Georgia. 512 had last been detected Dec. 29 in Alachua County, FL. Both birds may have wintered together at an undetermined location in Florida.

Unidentified
·    Two Whooping cranes were reported in LaCrosse County, WI on March 13.
·    A group of three whooping cranes was reported in Daviess County, IN March 13 – 20.
·    Two Whooping cranes were reported in Towns County, GA March 18.
·    Two Whooping cranes were reported in Jennings/Ripley Counties, IN March 19.
·    Several reports of Whooping cranes in flight in WI were received, but none were confirmed.
·    A pair of Whooping cranes were photographed in Green/Lafayette Counties, WI on 23 March.

Date: March 23, 2008 - Entry 1 Reporter:

Liz Condie

Subject:

First mortality in 2008

Location: Main Office

The Eastern Migratory Population has suffered its first mortality of the year. One of the 2007 DAR birds was found north of Glenwood, Indiana, apparently killed by a powerline strike. The six 2007 juvenile DARs left Hiwassee sometime last week and headed north. On Friday the 21st, the six were spotted by residents in the locale where the birds had chosen to roost. The carcass of the young DAR bird was found the following day.

News of the cranes' location traveled quickly and folks have been going to the site to see the birds. Word has come back to us that some people have been approaching far too close to the birds. Such human selfishness makes me cry. PLEASE understand that human interference/interaction with the birds is harmful to them and ultimately can prove fatal.

The goal of the project is to safeguard the Whooping crane from extinction by reintroducing wild birds into eastern North America. A constant stream of visitors to their site can easily habituate them to humans and in the process destroy the huge investment of time, effort, and donor dollars that has gone into them.

Please leave the birds alone; be part of the solution, not a part of the problem. If you care about the future of the species – stay away.

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