Weather has been Cooperating…

…and allowing for training each morning since the young Whooping cranes arrived at their new summer home at White River Marsh Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, WI.

The crane chicks arrived mid-afternoon last Tuesday, July 9. The following day the training strip adjacent their enclosure was still too wet from the previous 3 days of rain to allow the aircraft to train with them so we walked the runway with them following – to allow them to see their surroundings and stretch their heavy wings.

Yours truly trying to convince the young Whooping cranes to step into the water basin. You can see the amount of rain that is in the drypen that it rained heavily before the cranes arrived.

Yours truly trying to convince the young Whooping cranes to step into the water basin. You can see the amount of rain that is in the drypen that it rained heavily before the cranes arrived.

On Thursday, Richard van Heuvelen was able to taxi the wingless aircraft onto the grassy runway and pulled it along, with the chicks following closely behind.

On Friday the strip had dried enough to allow Richard to fly in and land on it and from that point on the young cranes have been training with the aircraft – taxiing back and forth in front of their enclosure. This was also the first time they had seen the aircraft with the large wing so a good amount of time was spent handing out mealworms near the wingtip as it rested on the ground so that they could become accustomed to it.

Training takes place soon after sunrise (6:30am CT) each day weather permits (rain, strong winds or fog would prevent training). You can catch all the action on the CraneCam.

Here is a selection of images captured by OM Volunteer Doug Pellerin over the past weekend:

Until this point the cranes had only ever seen the much smaller "dummy" wing used on the ground training aircraft while at Patuxent.

Until this point the cranes had only ever seen the much smaller “dummy” wing used on the ground training aircraft while at Patuxent. Much time was spent with the wingtip dipped to the ground so they could become familiar with it.

Richard taxis slowly to the south end of the runway and hands out more mealworms as a reward.

Richard taxis slowly to the south end of the runway and hands out more mealworms as a reward.

Eight Whooping cranes

Doug captured this image from inside the enclosure as this tight knit group passed by on one of their trips past the pen. 

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6 Comments

  1. Christy July 20, 2013 1:31 pm

    Great commentary and photos!

  2. Luella Duncan Frank July 17, 2013 2:52 pm

    Thanks for all the updates! I especially love the last photo! They look so eager! Love, love, love!

  3. Patricia Ewing July 16, 2013 7:12 pm

    Thank you OM. I love starting my day each morning watching the cam.

  4. Margie Tomlinson July 16, 2013 8:22 am

    Those are great photos! Thanks much to Doug! Especially the last one of the eight (8)! Maybe should be titled “The Great Eight” for this year of 2013. Thanks Heather for posting them to us.

  5. Joey Urey-Kramer July 16, 2013 8:15 am

    may I use the photo of all 8 on my timeline?