Weekend Training Recap

The weather provided flying opportunities for Richard to get the young cranes airborne over the weekend. Saturday morning winds were out of the north at 6mph but steady so he took advantage of the conditions and the cranes seemed eager to fly.

On the initial take-off, four cranes followed him on a large circuit, while the remaining four stayed behind on the runway. After a brief flight over the marsh, Richard landed and passed out some grapes as treats. A few minutes later he launched again and this time all eight cranes followed him into the air.

They were following so well that he was able to lead them past the public flyover location at County Rd. D and Mile Rd.

Also on hand to witness the occasion was sub-adult Whooping cranes 4-12 & 5-12. These two haven’t been spotted at the training site since August 18th. Doug Pellerin provided the following images which show the two older cranes observing from the north end of the runway.

Whooping cranes in flight

Two cranes from the Class of 2013 come in on final approach as two from the Class of 2012 observe.

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 Sunday winds were negligible, which of course meant fog but once it cleared all of the cranes eagerly exited the pen and were airborne quickly. Twenty-four minutes later they all landed in front of their enclosure. With only a week to go before the start of the 2013 migration each and every flying day is important and helps them to build endurance and to sort out their social order in the air.

The Class of 2013 in flight on Sunday, Sept. 22nd.

The Class of 2013 in flight on Sunday, Sept. 22nd.


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  1. Robin Lee Anderson September 23, 2013 6:34 pm

    Of course it is!!! Food always wins out. LOL

  2. Robin Lee Anderson September 23, 2013 12:38 pm

    Is it possible that these two older cranes from ’12 are interested in:
    1. taking control/lead of the young birds
    2. flying south with the trikes this year again
    3. getting the young birds to fly with them INSTEAD of the trikes
    4. getting the treats
    5. or perhaps they are imprinted to the trikes and just want to join the flock

    Is there speculation on any of this? Thanks!

    • Heather Ray September 23, 2013 4:38 pm

      #4 – getting treats