“They Always Come Back”

I’m not sure how many times I’ve said that in the past week… Either on our CraneCam chat or in person to someone asking “Now that the Whooping cranes are really flying, what if they don’t come back”?

Understandable query. Up until a couple of weeks ago this group was only flying for 2 or 3 minutes but lately they’re up to almost 10 minutes. Earlier this week then disappeared for not quite 30! We can only assume they landed out in an ag field but… They always come back and come back they did… I believe Colleen likely aged another 10 years in those 30 minutes.

If you’re in the area and you’d like to see if you can catch them ‘on the wing’ – head to Mile Rd and County Rd. D, approximately 4 miles north of the town of Princeton. Please park on Mile Rd., off to the side. 

Please also keep in mind these are birds, and as such fly where they want to and for how long so we cannot guarantee you’ll spot them but if you don’t try, we guarantee you won’t. 

Barring any fog delays, they’re typically out for exercise between 7:30 – 8:00 am. Keep looking toward the field/trees to the east of the intersection of Mile/D for seven young whoopers!

Here are a couple of photos captured yesterday – you can see how much altitude they’re capable of now.

Six on the wing. The 7th took a right and eventually met up with this group west of the pen area. Photo: H. Ray

Returning to the training area after an excursion. Photo: H. Ray

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  1. Cheryl Murphy August 31, 2017 1:21 pm

    We cammers all are breathless right along with OM.

  2. Mindy August 31, 2017 12:18 pm

    Love the pictures….thank you Heather

  3. Mollie Cook August 31, 2017 12:09 pm

    It is so exciting that the colts are doing so well & I have such huge admiration for the OM team who tirelessly makes this happen for “the new plan”. However, I still find it hard to understand why the USFWS thinks this plan is better after watching last year. They are forced to do this too soon & feel so lost too young not knowing what to do or where to go for migration UNLESS they are with surrogate parents like the one group last year.

    • Heather Ray August 31, 2017 12:22 pm

      All of the Parent Reared cranes released last year migrated south. Some with Sandhills, one with a pair of whooping cranes and the rest on their own.

  4. Mollie Cook August 31, 2017 10:25 am

    Wow – Wow!

  5. Barb August 31, 2017 8:47 am

    These birds seem to me, to have formed their own tight ly formed flock. If they form an alliance with a seasoned migratory bird, is it possible they could migrate South as a unit?

  6. Barb August 31, 2017 8:44 am

    Oh, Thank you for the glorious pictures.

  7. Lindi Allen August 31, 2017 7:22 am

    Awesome , so happy for them 🙂