Class of 2013 Migration Progress Report

Four of the 2013 Whooping cranes were fitted with Platform Terminal Transmitters (PTT’s) during their post arrival healthcheck at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in January. The four wearing the devices are nos. 1-13, 2-13, 8-13 (all females) and number 9-13.

Basically, the way information is gathered is each of the PTT units is programmed to send signals to a passing Argos satellite at periodic intervals. (If you’re interested in seeing where the satellite is currently click HERE)

The polar orbiting Argos satellite passes at an orbit of 850 km above the earth picks up the signals and store them on-board and relay them in real-time back to earth, where receiving stations relay data from satellites to processing centers.

Over 40 antennas located at all points of the globe collect the data from satellites. Data are either received in real-time by a regional antenna in the satellites’ path or stored on-board and relayed to the nearest global antennas.

There are two global Argos processing centers, one located just outside of Toulouse in Southwestern France, and the other near Washington, DC. Once the data arrive at a processing center, locations are automatically calculated and information made available to users/subscribers.

Based on information received since the young cranes left St. Marks on March 31st, we know they have traveled approximately 470 miles in just 3 days. We also know, by plotting their roost locations that they seem to be traveling parallel to the route our pilots led them along last fall.

As of yesterday, April 3rd, they had made it to northern Kentucky. Data received for all four transmitters means that at the very least, these four birds are still traveling together. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing if the remaining four cranes are also with this group.

Here’s a Google Earth map grab showing our southward stopovers (red place markers) and the yellow pushpins are the roost locations used by the cranes wearing PTT devices on each day of their unassisted northward flight.

April3_distance They appear to be making GREAT progress! Why not Give A WHOOP! to celebrate?

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  1. Dorothy Nordness April 10, 2014 4:32 pm

    Where are t;hey now?? Did all 4 continue to travel together??

  2. Connor April 8, 2014 5:03 pm

    Go Cranes! Fly safe especially number 2!

  3. Tony Brusate April 8, 2014 11:22 am

    Let’s hope they make it safely through Kentucky. Sadly, others have not fared so well here.

  4. Carl Mrozek April 6, 2014 4:06 am

    And how easily so many of us get lost once outside our neigborhoods & the main roads !

    And they only had one practice run -flying the opposite way
    -how amazing is that ?

  5. Patti Hakanson April 5, 2014 6:28 pm

    Amazing that they can be monitored this way! Glad to hear they are on their way home!! God watch over them, and praying they all get home safely!!! <3 class of 2013!

  6. Kate Crook April 5, 2014 4:58 am

    Isn’t technology amazing?! Thousands of people can keep track of four young cranes as they fly north. Thank you Heather for keeping us up on their progress!


  7. Margie Tomlinson April 5, 2014 12:10 am

    WHOOPIE!, or I should say, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop! Our birdies are on their way home to WI! You go Class of 2013 (& especially my girl #2-13)!

  8. Pat Alba April 4, 2014 7:22 pm

    Absolutely amazing. Lessons well learned by chicks. Great job OM!!!!!

  9. Ann Gillis April 4, 2014 12:49 pm

    Wonderful news. I wonder about them every day. I must dash and tell someone right now! Thank you and all of the others for teaching them so well and thank you for letting us know about them. We wait and watch…….

  10. Mary W-D April 4, 2014 12:00 pm

    This is so exciting to “observe” : ) Thank you so much
    for the report including map! Whoopee! They’re good
    learners from wonderful teaching parents. Joy!

  11. Suzanne Johnson April 4, 2014 10:20 am

    2013 Flock…You’ll love Wisconsin and find friends there. Keep going North plus a little West to Wisconsin! Don’t want you to end up on the East side of the Great Lakes.

  12. Lu Duncan Frank April 4, 2014 9:14 am

    This is so cool how you can teach them to do this! It never ceases to amaze me! Great job!

  13. LindiLovesBirds April 4, 2014 8:48 am

    I am so Happy for them and how well they are doing.

  14. Patricia Ewing April 4, 2014 8:37 am

    Great News OM — Thank you…

  15. Marje Lloyd April 4, 2014 7:45 am

    what clever birds , you taught them well,

  16. Lori (loriearn) April 4, 2014 7:38 am

    This is such wonderful news, I had just to Give a Whoop of Celebration. This is so exciting!!!!

  17. Ruth Mitchell April 4, 2014 7:36 am

    Way to go!!! I am going to tell myself that all eight of them are traveling together….heading back to the marsh!!!