Training Update

As Geoff mentioned on Monday, chicks 8-14 & 10-14 have been reluctant to exit the pen each morning. The past couple of days, however, I’ve seen an improvement. This morning six of the young cranes came pouring out, while number 10 held back. She eventually sashayed up to the feed station and decided now would be a good time for a quick bite of breakfast. Between nibbles, you could see her craning her neck (ha!) to see the trike waiting outside but no way would she head out on her own.

Brooke began taxiing to the north end of the grass strip with the six cranes trailing behind in a flurry of wings and legs. It would seem most are now flying in what we call ‘ground effect’ flight. Once at the far end he left the engine running while he climbed out and began passing out the grapes – a reward for a job well done.

Shortly after, we noticed number 10-14 sauntering toward him and her flockmates. Seems Geoff and Tom had managed to convince her that it was more fun outside the pen.

About halfway to the trike I think she spied the grapes and flap-ran the rest of the way to get her share of the treats. Maybe she just likes being fashionably late?

Training proceeded with a couple of forays into the tall grass by a couple of the crane-kids but they always came back to the runway once the aircraft began heading the other way. All in all a definite improvement.

Here are some images that Tom Schultz captured from inside the enclosure to share with you.

whooping cranes follow ultralight aircraft

Seems the cranes are all wings now as they head off in pursuit of the aircraft. Tom managed to capture all seven crane chicks flapping behind Brooke.

whooping cranes with ultralight aircraft

More grapes are handed out to reward the birds for a great training session.

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9 Comments

  1. Betty August 1, 2014 8:28 am

    Fascinating report. Thank you!

  2. LaraLeaf July 31, 2014 3:52 pm

    Always such a heartwarming sensation to see the interaction between tumes and colts. 🙂

  3. Lori July 31, 2014 2:45 pm

    Love the updates! There is one in every bunch who has to be different and maybe a bit more high maintenance than the rest!!!

  4. Sally Swanson July 31, 2014 1:43 pm

    They are so beautiful!

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  5. Nancy Freeman July 31, 2014 12:23 pm

    excellent work with the shutter clicker Tom ! great photo of the 7 colts 🙂 thanks for being there for all of us and sharing the great sights 🙂

  6. Sandi July 31, 2014 9:19 am

    it always amazes me how quickly the birds grow – I think I read it is about an inch a day. That is incredible.

  7. Kay July 31, 2014 8:30 am

    They did awesomely today! I’m so proud of everyone concerned — little cranes and big ones, too.

  8. Pamela S July 31, 2014 7:52 am

    Great progress report! There’s always one in every group that is high maintenance, right? She’ll catch up soon ~

  9. Becky July 31, 2014 7:10 am

    Another great update! Come on, #10–quite being the “princess” and get with the program! 🙂