Thursday, 9 September 2010

Operation Migration 2010

As most of you will know the Crane Cam launched again this year on August 5th 2010 sponsored by Duke Energy. It is fantastic to have these beautiful birds to watch again as they go about their day to day training before they leave on migration on October 1st. This is the target date at the moment but due to recent bad weather this may be set back.

Nacedah National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 as a breeding grounds and Sanctuary for the only eastern migrating population of Whooping Cranes. From mid August to the beginning of October they train the birds for their migration. They take to the air whenever the weather is good and lead the flock on circuits around the refuge to get them familiar with what will become their summer home for the rest of their lives. When the birds are young and inexperienced they fly low and more slowly in case they drop out of the sky.

There were only 13 chicks this years and so they were split into two cohorts rather than three. At the moment the cam shows early morning training sessions and also interactions in the pen during the day. By the middle of August a group of eight young cranes in cohort one were already flying well with the trike. Cohort one is getting very strong now and cohort two is not far behind. There is only three weeks left until they launch but unfortunately the weather is not playing the game. During the month of August it was good weather and they flew most days. There was a lot of fog but this would quickly clear enabling them to go out. However, September is a different story. There have been a  few storms already, one that knocked the camera out. At the moment they are only flying every three or four days.

WE look forward to following this years migration and seeing how these thirteen chicks do on their maiden voyage. I would like to share a story with you that I read on their site which is very cute. Normally the chicks are named by numbers. However they have named one of them Zoey 'flower child' Woodstock. This is because she is crazy about flowers. In that area there are a lot of purple clovers and she is obsessed by them. She attacks them and eats them pulling them out one by one. The Woodstock names comes about because she is very spacey and always running around after flowers. So the name Zoey flower child Woodstock was born.

For more information on Operation Migration 2010 log on to www.operationmigration.org and follow their daily blog.

Written by Emily Wallington

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