It would appear yesterday’s blast of frigid air in Wisconsin convinced a good number of Sandhill cranes to head south and along with them, some of the Parent Reared Whooping crane youngsters!
Colleen is currently in Florida after driving the tracking van there so that Brooke can use it during the winter. She’ll be flying back to Wisconsin today to resume tracking duties.
While she was away, Doug Pellerin volunteered to monitor 29 & 39-16 in Adams County, WI, however, upon arriving there yesterday, there were no Whooping cranes. Anywhere. Overnight we received a PTT hit for 39-16, which placed him in Kendall County, IL. We can only assume that 29-16 is with him as these two have always been together since release but until we receive a GSM email for #29-16 we won’t know for certain.
Also on the move is female whooping crane #71-16. This young gal was released at White River Marsh in late September and promptly headed southwest to join a large flock of Sandhill cranes. Until yesterday, she had been in Marquette County, WI. We received a GSM email from her remote device late yesterday, placing her in Lake County, IN – southeast of Chicago.
The young whooping crane Joe had been monitoring disappeared yesterday morning along with alloparents 3-14 and 4-12. This is the only crane that does not have a remote tracking device. As luck would have it, it’s also the only Parent Reared crane that appears to have been adopted by adult cranes in Wisconsin and the female (3-14) does have a PTT device.
In the meantime, we received a public sighting overnight from Samuel B. Burckhardt in Chicago who had access to a rooftop in the downtown area and watched thousands of Sandhill cranes pass over yesterday.
Mr. Burckhardt granted permission to include some of his photos below (Thank you!). Here’s the information he included with his report: I saw from about 11 AM to about 4:30 PM some 30,000 Sandhill Cranes migrate over the City of Chicago. Among them were four Whooping Cranes, at first three: two adults and a juvenile, and later a lone juvenile.”
I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that the two adults and a juvenile he saw are the three whooping cranes from White River Marsh that Joe was monitoring!
Here’s a closer look:
Based on the location of his observation and the GSM hits for 71-16, it’s also a pretty safe assumption that the lone juvenile he saw was 71-16.
Meanwhile Jo-Anne Bellemer who returned to Wisconsin last week so that I could head home (thank you!!!), is still monitoring 31-16 and 38-16 in Marquette County. They seemed quite antsy yesterday flitting from field to field and since everything is now frozen over and winds today will be shifting from a northerly direction by noon, well, we’re all hopeful they’ll get the message and move on!