Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

First wild whooping crane chick of 2011 creates hope, sadness

CHASSAHOWITZKA — The first wild whooping crane chick of 2011 has hatched in Wisconsin, and the youngster's arrival is continuing a distinguished bloodline.

The chick's mother, known as W-601 to those working to save the endangered species, in 2006 became the first crane to be hatched in the wild and then be taught by its parents the migration route to Florida.

The birth was notable for another reason: The bird's grandmother in 2002 learned the migration route by following an ultralight aircraft 1,250 miles to Citrus County. In 2009, she was shot and killed in Indiana, an incident that sparked outrage when one of the shooters received just a $1 fine.

"The little one will likely carry the moniker W1-11," said Liz Condie of Operation Migration, one of the groups working to revive the cranes in the eastern United States. "But … I think it should be more appropriately be known as Hope."

For 10 years, the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership has worked to re-establish a migratory flock of whooping cranes in the eastern United States. Using ultralights through Operation Migration and other migrating cranes, the chicks learn the route from Wisconsin to Florida. During that time, the group has grown the population from zero to more than 100.

The goal of the program is to have cranes that migrate without human help.

The odds for survival are long. In the 10 years of the reintroduction project, only three cranes have hatched and migrated. Last year, seven cranes hatched and two survived to migrate. Ten pairs of cranes now are incubating eggs in and around the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.

The shooting of the grandma crane, and the resulting $1 fine, continues to infuriate those working to save the species.

"Now for a buck you get to legally shoot a whooping crane and snub your nose at the laws designed to protect it. Your dollar can buy the 15 years of experimentation that it took to develop a technique for teaching birds to migrate," wrote Operation Migration founder Joe Duff.

The birds are battling more than bullets. Swarming black flies at Necedah are thought to be driving pairs of cranes off their nests.

That has prompted a change in where the birds hatching this year will be trained to follow ultralight aircraft to Florida. The new site will be the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area near the town of Berlin, Wis.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

.Fast facts

To learn more

On Operation Migration and this year's nesting season:

operationmigration.org/Field_Journal.html

On the reintroduction of whooping cranes:

bringbackthecranes.org

To view prosecutor's statement on the $1 fine:

vermilliongov.us/pressreleases.html

First wild whooping crane chick of 2011 creates hope, sadness 05/12/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 12, 2011 10:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deandre Gilmore gets 20 years in death of toddler

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Deandre Gilmore was sentenced to 20 years in state prison Monday in the death of his ex-girlfriend's 19-month-old daughter.

    Deandre Gilmore is led from a courtroom in handcuffs prior to a lunch break Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore was sentenced to 20 years in state prison in the death of his ex-girlfriend's 19-month-old daughter while he was giving her a bath.
  2. David Letterman's friends — and shrink — make his Twain ceremony as funny as his late-night legacy

    The Feed

    For years, David Letterman, consumed by insecurities and the relentless pace of a nightly television program, would respond to the loud cheers of his audience with a strained smile and a half-scolding, half-embarrassed wave to "cut that out."

    David Letterman is honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Washington, D.C. [Owen Sweeney | Invision | AP]
  3. Target says customers want it to pause the Christmas creep

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Target says customers want it to pause the "Christmas creep." It says it wants to be more in tune with customers' mindset, so it plans to ease in holiday promotions this year while better recognizing Thanksgiving.

     Target says customers want it to pause the "Christmas creep." It says it wants to be more in tune with customers' mindset, so it plans to ease in holiday promotions this year while better recognizing Thanksgiving. This is Target's new store in Manhattan's Herald Square that opened last week. 
[Kavita Kumar/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS]
  4. Foo Fighters coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

    Blogs

    It's times like these we learn to love Mondays again.

    Foo Fighters
  5. Lightning needs to hold onto Sergachev

    Blogs

    Here’s hoping the Lightning holds onto Mikhail Sergachev.

    Mikhail Sergachev has scored his first three NHL goals in his last two NHL games.