Operation Migration is a partner of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, a non-profit organization that is establishing a second flock of wild, migratory whooping cranes in the Eastern United States. Each year whooping crane eggs are hatched in captivity and the chicks are raised and trained to follow Ultralight pilots on the migratory route from Wisconsin to Florida.
The Class of 2011 is in training. Meet the eleven chicks. For more information and photos, go to OM’s website: www.operationmigration.org. Click on “Field Notes” for photos and detailed biographies of 2011’s 11!
1-11: The first to hatch, #1-11 is well behaved, learns fast, loves to eat, and plays well with others.
2-11: A bit of an introvert. Peeps a lot and is finally getting the hang of being a bird.
3-11: Showing signs of “gifted.” Sharp, little bugger. Highly skilled at drinking water from his bowl.
4-11: A moody little chick who refused to drink his water. Got thirsty enough and finally came around.
5-11: Hatched on May 7, he was not all that excited about his new world. It took him a few days to catch on. He spent most of his time sleeping.
6-11: A sharp, little cookie, but frightens easily. However, he’s showing signs he can take care of himself. Just don’t sneak up on him.
7-11: Showed signs of defiance. Wouldn’t eat until his trainer realized #7 didn’t know how. After watching the puppet crane, the chick got the idea and now he won’t take his head out of his food bowl.
8-11: Oh my gosh! What can I say? There’s one in every group. Just a few hours old and this guy earned the name “Monster.” See pilot Brooke Pennypacker’s posting on June 6 in “Field Notes.” Number 8 earned several paragraphs. Brooke wrote that while most chicks’ first words are “peep, peep,” this guy’s were “Make my day!” An aggressive, bully, # 8 had to be isolated from his classmates for several days. Brooke claims that a handler went into the pen to take the chick’s picture and all that remained after the photo shoot was the camera.
9-11: A picky eater, # 9 picked all the dark bits in his bowl and threw them out. He’s a homebody and prefers to hang out in his cage. That will have to change before he undertakes his 1,200+mile migration.
10-11: Number 10 is sensible, easy-going, not much trouble at all. One day, he forgot how to eat, but, hey, everyone is entitled to a bad day once in a while.
12-10: Nicknamed “Tiny Tim,” because he had to be helped out of his shell during hatching. But this weak, frail chick is coming along nicely.
A final word about the Aransas/Wood Buffalo Flock. They are nesting in Canada right now and have a record number of active nest: 75!