Archive for whooping cranes

New generation of whooping cranes reach Florida

Whooping cranesWhooping cranes led by ultralight aircraft from their summer home in Wisconsin have made it to Florida, the St. Petersburg Times reports. The cranes winter in and around Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf of Mexico and will return to Wisconsin and other northern areas on their own in the spring.

Researchers have been leading cranes to Florida every year since 2000. This year’s 17 cranes — the “class of 2007” — are part of an experimental flock that researchers are trying to establish in the eastern United States. (There is already an established flock in the west.)

Previous years’ cranes fly to and from Florida on their own, unassisted.

After the first few years of following the crane migration, every year that a new class of cranes comes to Florida and makes news, I wonder if I should still point it out on EcoFlorida. After all, you aren’t likely to see this experimental flock (there is another experimental flock of whooping cranes in Florida that doesn’t migrate), and even though it’s a fun story, it’s kind of almost like the story from the previous year.

However, I think the real key to what researchers are doing is helping re-establish whooping cranes in the eastern United States — and that it’s a good example for what could be done (and in some cases is being done) to help out other species. It would be great to see more endangered species being captive bred and introduced into the wild.

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The cranes are coming

This year’s flock of endangered whooping cranes has left their summer home in Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin and are on their way here to their winter home in Citrus County, the Associated Press reports. This year’s “class” has 17 birds. The article has an interview with a co-founder of Operation Migration, which oversees establishing a flock of migratory whooping cranes in the eastern U.S.

The whooping cranes are trained to follow an ultralight aircraft so they learn the general migration route.

Previous year’s “classes” of birds migrate south on their own. The first year was 2000.

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Surviving whooping crane to stay in the wild

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Return flight: Whooping cranes making annual trip to Florida

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