Meet the Class of 2015 Whooping Cranes!

This has been the coolest few weeks ever, getting to know each of the Whooping crane chicklets from the beginning and I thought I would share my opinion of each of the chicks with all of you.

#1 (green leg band) is a great bird, she follows the trike well and is calm and sweet.

Whooping crane 1-15

Whooping crane 1-15

#2 (black leg band) hmmmm how can I put this and have it be politically correct? She was a slow learner, she marches to the beat of her own drum. She has done well at trike training over the past 4 or 5 days and we are doing the happy dance! I am hoping “IT” has (finally) clicked. Some days she would not even follow Brooke to the field to try. She was nervous and paced out in the ponded pen. She is calming down nicely now though. Initially, I was voting her Most Likely To Be Boxed, but she is doing so well I have changed my mind.

Whooping crane 2-15

Whooping crane 2-15

#3 (red band) is an awesome bird. Trains well and is consistent. She is not as clingy as she once was and is just “getting” it so well!

Whooping crane 3-15

Whooping crane 3-15

#6 (yellow band) is the mean girl. So mean, she could make Lindsay Lohan cry. It will be interesting to see if she keeps the dominate position or as they get older another puts her in her place. She is an independent girl and good at training.

Whooping crane 6-15

Whooping crane 6-15

#8 (light blue band) is a calm bird. She follows the trike very well and is so cute. She is happy and joyful on walks and skips along with wings spread, although she can slow the group down and be a forager along with #2.

Whooping crane 8-15

Whooping crane 8-15

#10 (White band) is adorable, Brooke let me name her when she was little tiny thing and doing the engine on/off training. At first she was terrified and would cower in my lap (for this training, which takes a few days, I would kneel down and spread the costume flat on the ground between my knees. When Brooke started the engine, if the chick was scared it could run into my lap) So, she was named Chicken Little. She is still the scared one. When Brooke leaves the pen or the Sandhills alarm call she melts down and tries to climb the fence.

Whooping crane 10-15

Whooping crane 10-15

#11 (dark blue band) is also a great little bird. The only male of the group. He follows and is gentle and loves the costume. (He’s my fav. But, don’t tell the others)

Whooping crane 11-15 is our youngest this year.

Whooping crane 11-15 is our youngest this year.

In less than two weeks they will be at the White River Marsh training site and the real world will begin for them. It has been fascinating to see them learn to follow the trike. Brooke’s patience is limitless and the reason each class gets to Wisconsin and starts the season there ready and willing to get the second phase of training underway.

I absolutely love being at Patuxent and am so grateful for the staff here letting me stay and help!

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  1. Jim L June 29, 2015 9:50 pm

    Collen you’ve been blessed with a great opportunity and responsibility! Keep the class of ’15 strong and healthy! Best of luck to you in your position with OM! Me and my students will be following you this Fall. Good weather to you and the chicks!

  2. Genie Ogden June 26, 2015 4:02 pm

    They all are adorable. I hope everything goes well for them. Thanks for doing this.

  3. Christy June 24, 2015 2:55 pm

    Such fine birds!
    Thank you Colleen and Brooke.

  4. birdlady9 June 22, 2015 12:38 pm

    Thank you, Colleen, for the gorgeous photos and sharing the personalities of these beautiful chicks. I’m in love! <3

  5. Bobbie June 22, 2015 6:05 am

    Thank you Colleen for sharing these precious tidbits of information!

  6. Dorothy N June 20, 2015 2:32 pm

    Such cuties!! I like that #3 has worked out a plan for her personal growth. They are all adorable. Thanks for this report.

  7. lilbirdz June 20, 2015 12:10 pm

    Colleen, thank you for your description of each chicklette and its personality. When they move to WRM, we will finally get to see what you have been so lucky to live with. A whooper chick in your lap! Wow and wowza!

  8. Warrenwesternpa June 20, 2015 9:55 am

    Meet the Class of 2015 Whooping Cranes Colleen Chase

    This is again a comfortingly journal entry to me and others. The pictures and personalitys of each creature are identified with reason and clarity. In contrast to species, “”They are look alike”, term from outsiders comes to mind. I’m sure the animal kingdom view us in the same manner. IE … Each one is about the same height, body parts equal, feather color varies, make no sounds or obvious communication. Unusual sheltering methods. Very small and useless beaks!

    Richard … Your lovingly Colleen is a perpetual compliment to this team. I laughed out loud at your comment. I imagined for you, no more talking, plus your eating mealworms, chasing a car …( no trike at home, remember), maintaining fuzz and later feathers. Difficult to prean, drink a beer and watch a football game. She will love OUR birds as well as she loves HER, “home companion”. And you both have a nation of admirers! Thanks Colleen and Richard.

    • Maxgreenwing June 23, 2015 4:14 am

      Hi Warren <3 🙂

  9. Maggie Turk June 19, 2015 5:38 pm

    What a ratio—so many babes and one hunk!!!! No doubt another peanut . Thanks Colleen for all the info on each one . They all look so wonderful and hope they make it to Florida. We need to keep our fingers crossed that they do well.


  10. thunder June 19, 2015 5:13 pm

    Colleen, Thank you so much for your expertise evaluation opinion on the chicks. We are enjoying learning about them. How exciting to be at Patuxen. You can tell by your post how excited you are. Happy Dance for Colleen.
    In chat today the discussion was on how tall are the cranes? By your pic they look about 19 chain squares high. 1sq = 3 ins, so are they about 4′ 9″ tall? We are in need of something to watch. Can you tell? 🙂 Looking forward to the 2015 season to start.

  11. Mindy June 19, 2015 4:20 pm

    Colleen, you have given me such a treasure today! I love your description of all the babies. Thank you so much for sharing these great pictures with all of us who have been so ready to see them. Very glad you got to be with them and care so much for them early in their lives…..Good job Colleen and Brooke!

  12. Sally Swanson June 19, 2015 3:48 pm

    Thanks Colleen! I bet you really were excited about being at Patuxent with the Class of 2015! And, please tell Richard that when he gets his fuzzy brown wings, please have his picture taken and post it so we can all see the new “chick”. Also, what color is his band so we can identify him!


  13. Margie Tomlinson June 19, 2015 1:05 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Colleen for introducing us the new Class of 2015!!! They are all so loveable in their own way. What a great group/cohort! Can’t wait for the Crane Cam to get going and watch them training on the grass runway at WRM! (<3)

  14. westendoldbird June 19, 2015 1:02 pm

    2 weeks to go , and so much to do. Where has my time gone.

  15. ffmn June 19, 2015 11:23 am

    ?? Do the birds and staff have to be concerned about wood ticks when at the training site for humans or birds???

    • Heather Ray June 21, 2015 2:27 pm

      absolutely and this is a banner year for them

  16. ffmn June 19, 2015 11:18 am

    OK I wrote down all the info Colleen provided and will have hanging on bulletin board above computer desk for quick reference. Thanks so much for doing that Colleen (if you read this). I , too, am getting excited for my second time and know more what to expect and not get overly excited with things seem to go awry . BRING JULY ON!!!

  17. Reta June 19, 2015 11:14 am

    Loved this introduction, thank you. I was concerned they were all girls until you introduced # 11. With these birds mating for life, the odds surely are against the females.


  18. Susan O’Connell June 19, 2015 11:14 am

    Wow, only 1 male AGAIN?

  19. M Miller June 19, 2015 10:48 am

    Thrilling to read your descriptions of each chicklet. Now we are invested also. Your enthusiasm is fabulous!!

  20. pattilat June 19, 2015 10:44 am

    This is so exciting, the getting to know our 2015 group. I’m filled with anxiety! The dedication, work, to the survival of a species, put forth by the entire OM team, is beyond anything I’ve experienced in my many years on this earth. Magnificient human endeavor! We appreciate this wonderful introduction to our new “chicklets”.

  21. Carl W. Sdano June 19, 2015 9:49 am

    Given that there are only two males, this year & last, is this a cause of concern?

    • Heather Ray June 21, 2015 2:28 pm

      Not at all. Currently there is a higher ratio of males to females in the EMP

  22. vannie zuchowicz June 19, 2015 9:46 am

    think you for sharing this great news with the Baby”s of 015 They look good.


  23. Grandma June 19, 2015 9:39 am

    I would once again like to thank each that have a part in bringing this wonderful adventure to us. The photos are beautiful, falling in love with them already. Looking forward to updates.

  24. Mollie Cook June 19, 2015 9:35 am

    I’m just giddy with excitement seeing all the new babies & what great insight into their personalities. Sounds like we might have a Naughty Nellie in the group! Thank you Colleen for the wonderful report & I know you will hate to leave Patuxent. And thanks to all of you for being such patient parents to our babies. Can’t wait to hear about (and hopefully see) their training at WRM. Sounds like another exciting year & praying for NO CRATING on migration this year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves………..they have a long way to go & much to learn.

  25. Ruth Mitchell June 19, 2015 8:45 am

    Thank you so much Colleen for introducing us to our babies and telling us a little bit about each of them. It will be interesting to watch those personalities unfold over the next months!!!

  26. Patricia Ewing June 19, 2015 8:40 am

    Thank you Colleen, so nice to see the new class and can’t wait until training begins at WRM..

  27. Doug Pellerin June 19, 2015 8:40 am

    Soooo perfect!

  28. Deanna uphoff June 19, 2015 8:18 am

    Yay it starts all over again. So excited.

  29. Ann Manning June 19, 2015 8:18 am

    Can’t wait for the journey to begin. Thanks for the introduction to the cohort of 2015 ,and preparing us for all the different personalities we will come to know ,and fall insanely in love with.

  30. Carol Craig June 19, 2015 7:22 am

    So excited for these new babies to get on with the next phase of their lives and for the chance to follow them. Thank you all!

  31. Patti June 19, 2015 7:16 am

    Oh be still my <3!! Welcome to the world babies!! You are a beautiful class and can't wait to follow your learning experiences this year!!

  32. Lindi Allen June 19, 2015 7:16 am

    Thanks for the thoughts about each chick 🙂 I will enjoy watching them grow.

  33. Dana June 19, 2015 7:15 am

    Thanks for helping us to know each bird has such special qualities – and for all of your patience and caring.


  34. Joey June 19, 2015 7:13 am

    Where did 4, 5, 7 and 9 go? I love all the stories and the photos. You all make us feel like we are there with you.

    • Heather Ray June 19, 2015 8:34 am

      Not all chicks survive and some are assigned to Louisiana non-migratory reintroduction – therefore the gap in numbers

  35. Richard P. Chase June 19, 2015 7:13 am

    I reckon that it would be smart for me to sprout some fuzzy brown wings, get a leg band and “run and jump” across the backyard when Colleen gets home so she won’t miss the babies too much! 😉

    • Kathy Clark/Lucia June 19, 2015 10:18 am

      Let me know when you do! Bill and I would love to see that!

      Glad things are going well for the whoopers. You should be very proud of you efforts!

  36. Kate Crook June 19, 2015 7:04 am

    Thank you for just not introducing us to the birds but their personalities too! And thank you for your dedication to these beautiful creatures!!!

  37. A Burke June 19, 2015 6:51 am

    What a beautiful group of babies!