Another year of tracking whooping cranes has come and gone for me except for two, Parent-Reared cranes, and those two birds should be leaving soon with the cold weather coming later this week.?
It’s been a interesting year as all years are when tracking whooping cranes. At one point I was tracking 17 different birds in my area. Most of these I was able to get visuals on for the early part of the season, but once the summer heat started they were much harder to locate. Some retreated into the marshes where it was cooler for them and others were molting.?
Once the temperatures got a little cooler the birds started to reappear – some in their regular spots and others started moving around a little.?
2017 was also a year when 4-14 aka (Peanut) played hide an seek with us. First of all Brooke spotted him on the runway at our White River Marsh training site and for a while he stayed fairly close to the area. Then he disappeared and was AWOL for a while.?
Then when my wife and I were driving over for crane festival we spotted two adult whoopers out in a field – there were two because Peanut had befriended another male whooping crane #11-15 earlier in the year which was a stroke of good luck for those of us tracking him because Peanut’s transmitter has been out of order for a couple years and #11-15 is transmitting, which of course makes it easy to locate them.
After a few weeks they both disappeared again and were missing for a while? until Joe and Heather spotted the two of them, miles away in a different wetland. He sure can be a pain in the butt, LOL.
I’ve also been helping Heather monitor 3 Parent-Reared birds, which we released in Dodge Co. in Sept. They are 24-17, 38-17 & 39-17.
Number 24-17 has already migrated, but the other two are still here and I’ll continue monitoring them until they leave once the weather turns colder.
Once they leave I’ll put my tracking gear in hibernation until all the whoopers return in the spring.
It’s been a fun and interesting season!