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  • WCEP:USFWS News Release January 7, 2010
    their ultralight aircraft to wintering grounds in Florida Unaided the cranes will make the return migration to the Upper Midwest in the spring This is the second time we have led birds through this part of Kentucky Tennessee and Alabama Georgia and I am still amazed at the support this project generates said Joe Duff C E O Operation Migration Inc Without help from land owners who allow us to use their property or the airport managers who provide hangar space for our flimsy aircraft this project could not be done We are grateful to all the people who provide pumpkins for the birds showers for the crew members or dinners Your generosity is greatly appreciated The ultra led flock from Necedah NWR passed through Wisconsin Illinois Kentucky and Tennessee Alabama and passes through Georgia to reach their final destinations in Florida Because the ability to fly with the birds is entirely weather dependent the duration of the migration is unknown To help speed the migration and improve safety for the birds and the pilots a new route was developed last year that takes the team around the Appalachian Mountains rather than over them In addition to the 20 ultralight led birds biologists from the International Crane Foundation ICF and the Service reared nine whooping cranes at Necedah NWR The birds were released in the company of older cranes from whom the young birds will learn the migration route This is the fifth year WCEP has used this Direct Autumn Release method Whooping cranes that take part in the ultralight and Direct Autumn Release reintroductions are hatched at the U S Geological Survey s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel Md and at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo Wis Chicks are raised under a strict isolation protocol and to ensure the birds remain wild handlers adhere to a no talking rule and wear costumes designed to mask the human form Most of the reintroduced whooping cranes spend the summer in central Wisconsin where they use areas on the Necedah NWR as well as various state and private lands Reintroduced whooping cranes have also spent time in Minnesota Iowa Illinois Michigan and other upper Midwest states In the spring and fall project staff from ICF and the Service track and monitor the released cranes in an effort to learn as much as possible about their unassisted migrations and the habitat choices they make along the way The birds are monitored during the winter in Florida by WCEP project staff ICF and Service biologists continue to monitor the birds while they are in their summer locations The Whooping Crane Recovery Team has established a target number for this reintroduction Once there are at least 125 individuals including 25 breeding pairs migrating in this eastern corridor the population could be considered self sustaining Whooping cranes were on the verge of extinction in the 1940s Today there are only about 500 birds in existence 350 of them in the wild Aside from the

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/newsroom/2010/nrFWS7January2010.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Mid-October 2009 Project Update
    additional birds have not been detected since December 2008 2009 Ultralight Cohort This year 20 young whooping cranes have been prepared for the fall migration and the targeted ultralight departure date was October 10 Unsettled weather conditions since early October have meant that few days have been suitable for flying delaying the migration As of October 21 progress has been meager with just over half of the birds having made the short flight to the first stopover site Hopefully we will soon see some days more conducive to flying and make greater progress on the 1200 mile journey For daily updates on the progress of the ultralight cohort see the Operation Migration web site at http www operationmigration org Field Journal html or to view the live video broadcasts via OM s CraneCam and TrikeCam go to http www operationmigration org crane cam html 2009 DAR Cohort Currently 9 DAR birds are being raised for release this fall Some time within the next few weeks they will be released in groups of two to three near suitable older cranes in or near the Necedah NWR rearing site These DAR birds will be carefully monitored during the fall migration to track

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/technicaldatabase/projectupdates/2009/wcepupdate2009october.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Mid-September 2009 Project Update
    and 31 females The most recent known locations of all birds are shown in the map below Whooping cranes are present in at least 9 Wisconsin counties and at least one bird is known to be in Michigan one in Indiana with the location of three others unknown 2009 Cohort We are currently preparing 30 chicks for the fall 2009 migration 21 cranes for the ultralight project and 9 for the DAR project This year s targeted departure date for the ultralight birds is October 18 with plans to again split the flock between the two wintering sites at St Marks National Wildlife Refuge NWR and Chassahowitzka NWR The DAR birds will continue their training until late fall when they will be released in groups of two to three birds near older cranes in or near the Necedah NWR rearing site Report Sightings Pre migration movements are expected to commence soon although we do not expect to see any large migration movements until late fall When migration gets into full swing in October and November we ask that sightings of migrants be passed on to us through the whooping crane reporting web site we have established for that purpose http

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/technicaldatabase/projectupdates/2009/wcepupdate2009sept.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Mid-August 2009 Project Update
    at least 2 birds are known to be in Michigan with the location of two others unknown All the birds from the 2008 cohort are currently at Wisconsin locations away from the Necedah NWR where they were raised with all three of the 2008 DAR birds at a site in Columbia County and another group of nine 1 year old cranes being found together in Dodge County Nesting As noted in previous updates 12 territorial pairs of Wisconsin whooping cranes built nests and laid eggs in 2009 with 11 nests located on the Necedah NWR and one nest on private land off the Refuge All 12 pairs abandoned their nests before the eggs hatched and 5 of these pairs re nested with two pairs producing single chicks Both of these chicks were eventually lost to predation prior to fledging Several field studies were conducted this year in an attempt to gain insight into the causes of nest failures observed over the past several years Results of these studies are expected to be available in September We are also reviewing the possible use of alternate release sites such as Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area SWA Mead SWA and Horicon NWR SWA

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/technicaldatabase/projectupdates/2009/wcepupdate2009august.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Mid-May 2009 Project Update
    The most recent known locations of all birds are shown in the map below Whooping cranes are present in at least 12 Wisconsin counties and many of these are one and two year old birds engaged in their typical spring wandering One bird traveled as far west as North Dakota and then moved back eastward into Minnesota Interestingly this bird was most recently documented very close to another two wandering whooping cranes in southeastern Minnesota Besides Minnesota whooping cranes have also recently been sighted in Michigan and Illinois We have had an increased number of reports received via the Partnership Web Form as more people use the site to report whooping cranes in their area One group of 5 one year old whooping cranes has been reported by numerous members of the public as they have wandered from Dane to Juneau Counties and most recently to Dodge County Wisconsin Nesting All of the 12 territorial pairs of Wisconsin whooping cranes built nests and laid eggs with 11 nests located on the Necedah NWR and one nest on private land off the Refuge Between April 18 and May 3 all incubating pairs abandoned their nests This nest abandonment pattern is similar to what has been observed in the past few years WCEP is investigating the cause of the nest abandonments through analysis of data collected throughout the nesting period on nesting crane behavior temperature black fly abundance and distribution and food availability At least two pairs have initiated nest building so we re still hopeful to have some reproduction this year In 2006 a successful re nesting pair initiated incubation on May 23rd and hatched two chicks on June 22nd Reporting Sightings Please forward any sightings you receive to us through the whooping crane reporting web site we have established for

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/technicaldatabase/projectupdates/2009/wcepupdate2009may.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Mid-April 2009 Project Update
    the winter management team All have now departed for Wisconsin and their migration paths are shown in Map 2 below The first of these birds to leave Florida were 4 of the 7 Chassahowitzka NWR birds which left the pen on March 24 Based upon data from a satellite transmitter on one of these birds this group made it to Kentucky by the evening of March 25th and to Illinois by March 29 One of the birds became separated from the group somewhere between Alabama and Illinois and its current whereabouts remains unknown The other 3 birds have gradually moved northward and as of April 14 are in far northern Illinois in McHenry County The 7 birds wintering at the St Marks NWR pen departed on March 30 According to satellite data from the transmitter on one of the birds they were in Alabama on the 31st and in Kentucky by April 2 As of April 14 five of these birds were in La Salle County Illinois about 80 miles southwest of Chicago A sixth bird in Illinois suffered severe multiple leg fractures and despite the best efforts of veterinarians at the University of Illinois died of complications following surgery The 7th bird became separated from the group and was last reported by herself in Iowa The remaining 3 birds at Chassahowitzka departed on Saturday April 4 and as of April 15 were near Albany Georgia 2008 Direct Autumn Release DAR Cohort Of the surviving birds released using the DAR technique this year all continued to associate with older whooping cranes throughout the winter The four birds that spent much of the winter in Tennessee successfully migrated back to Wisconsin arriving at Necedah by March 22 This group of birds subsequently moved to Columbia County Wisconsin where they remained through

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/technicaldatabase/projectupdates/2009/wcepupdate2009april.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Mid-March 2009 Project Update
    fws gov midwest whoopingcrane sightings sightingform cfm March 2009 Population Status As of mid March 2009 there are 85 birds in the Eastern Migratory Whooping Crane population consisting of 50 males and 35 females Two other birds not included in the above total are missing and probably dead but this has not yet been confirmed The most recent known locations of all birds are shown in the map below Approximately 1 3 of the population is currently migrating north including at least 5 of the 12 potential breeding pairs 2008 Ultralight Cohort The14 young cranes led to Florida behind ultralight aircraft have been doing well in their winter quarters with 7 birds at St Marks National Wildlife Refuge NWR and 7 at Chassahowitzka NWR The birds will continue to be monitored throughout the winter until they depart on their own for the migration back to Wisconsin At that time the Tracking Team will also leave Florida and closely monitor the young cranes on their first northward migration Based upon our experience from previous years we expect departure to occur some time in late March or early April 2008 Direct Autumn Release DAR Cohort Of the surviving birds released using the

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/technicaldatabase/projectupdates/2009/UpdateMarch2009.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Mid-February 2009 Project Update
    pairs that could potentially breed this year The winter locations of these pairs are shown in the second map below in Tennessee 4 Alabama 2 South Carolina 2 and Florida 3 with one pair s winter location unknown 2008 Ultralight Cohort Subsequent to our previous update the 14 cranes led to Florida behind ultralight aircraft completed their first migration The 7 birds destined for the new wintering site at St Marks National Wildlife Refuge NWR arrived on January 17 and the remainder of the young whooping cranes arrived at their wintering destination at Chassahowitzka NWR on January 23 Soon after their arrival each of the two groups of cranes received health checks and permanent bands and transmitters Each group of young cranes is doing well exploring the habitats in the vicinity of their open pens All birds will be monitored throughout the winter until they depart on their own for the migration back to Wisconsin 2008 Direct Autumn Release DAR Cohort Of the surviving birds released using the DAR technique this year all continue to associate with older whooping cranes The latest information indicates four birds located in Tennessee and one bird in Florida Another bird last detected with other

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/technicaldatabase/projectupdates/2009/UpdateFeb2009.html (2016-05-02)
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