The Tracking Game

Once a week for the last three weeks Brooke and I have gone a bit east of where I live to play hide and seek with Whooping cranes 71-16 and 36-17. Both of these birds are Parent-Reared cranes: One from 2016 and one from last year.

Last winter, number 71-16 stayed in Jackson County, Indiana so she’s come much farther south this year!

At first, while they were in the same general area, they were still a few miles apart. We just got beeps from both their transmitters but, no visual confirmation on either.

Then one day the GSM hits showed 71-16 had moved west a bit. They were in the same marsh! But, were they together?

Off we went to see if we could get eyes on them! I checked Google Maps, Brooke checked the gazetteer. (he does not trust Ms. Google). It was going to be a walk through some Cypress Swamp for HIM any which way I looked at it.

I directed him to the closest point and as we pulled into a parking lot a man was walking toward the building. The tracking van caught his attention, as it does with most people. We pulled up to him and he asked what we were looking for. Brooke explained and he pointed back in the direction of the marsh, said he had just cut a logging road in and for us to go on back! Wow talk about luck!

We followed the logging road back through a beautiful Cypress Swamp to the edge of the marsh. It’s absolutely inaccessible. Cypress Swamp followed by tall, thick vegetation. Strong beeps but no birds in sight. Brooke climbed on the roof of the van. No luck.

So the game continues. Every time, these two cranes have won. Beeps but no eyes on birds.

Score card: Trackers 0/Cranes 3.

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  1. Dorothy N January 30, 2018 1:21 pm

    Some birds just have a talent for being “not seen” — as in the old Monty Python sketch entitled “How To be Not Seen”.

  2. Maggie Turk January 29, 2018 10:52 am

    Always remember the story about the splder that tried seven times before it finally could make it’s web complete!!! Don’t give up Colleen and Brooke.

  3. Sue McCurdy January 29, 2018 9:21 am

    Thanks for the report. I haven’t responded for a while, but I always read them.