You may recall this young female crane was released in Winnebago County, Wisconsin on October 5th. Jo-Anne Bellemer was tasked with monitoring her, as well as number 72-17 – a young male Whooping Crane released in the same area a week earlier.
Number 30-17 promptly hid along the edge of a wooded lot adjacent the marsh where she was released, prompting Jo and I to take a not so leisurely stroll into the woods to confirm she was either upright (yay!) or horizontal (boo!).
After a 30-minute trek, we did find her upright and breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Jo continued a game of cat and mouse over the next few weeks before this young crane flew south – WAY SOUTH in fact!
By the third week of November Whooping Crane #30-17 had gone as far south as she possibly could have gone, while still keeping land below and she had arrived in the Mississippi Delta area of Louisiana – some 1100 miles from where she was released in Wisconsin.
Eva Szyszkoski, formerly with ICF and the Eastern Migratory Population but now with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), sent along the following photos to share with readers. LDWF pilot Michael Chauff carries out aerial surveys over the dispersal area for the non-migratory Whooping Cranes in Louisiana. Knowing there was an EMP crane in the area, they dialed in her VHF frequency during the December 22nd flight and had no problems locating her in ideal habitat.