I just listened to Bird Note on NPR and learned something about 2 whooping cranes I've known for many years. While spending time in Rockport, Texas, I make a point to visit the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Almost every year, I see the Lopstick family feeding on the refuge. The male is now 33 years old and he and his mate have produced 17 whoopers during their time together. That may not seem like much of an accomplishment. But since whoopers' lifespan is around 30 years and they don't reproduce until around the age of 4, this guy is prolific. He has also successfully migrated more than 200,000 miles.
On another bird note: Operation Migration is now in the 14th day of migration. All but 2 of those days have been spent on the ground due to bad weather.
Here's an updated profile on the first whooper to hatch in this year's class. Number 1-11, was labeled a bully because he took toys (sticks, frogs, even mud clumps) alway from his flock mates. He'd poke them in the butt when they were resting. On September 11th of flight training, he took off in another direction while the other 9 birds followed nicely behind the training trike. He ended up tangled in brush and became so exhausted that he allowed himself to be carried home. It took a few days before the soreness left his wings and he could train again. Good news: on October 10, the second migration day, #1-11 was the only whooper that flew the entire distance! Upper right is 1-11's baby picture and below is what he looks like now. This information and these chick photos came from the OM website.
Read more about the Class of 2011 by going to their website: go to "In the Field," then "Site Map," and scroll down until you see the bios for the various classes. Next Sunday read about #2-11 (hopefully I'll have good news). http://www.operationmigration.org/Field_Journal.html