Cranes lay over in Kentucky
By JO SANDIN
Article courtesy of the Miwaukee Journal Sentinel
Nov. 8, 2001
A new migratory flock of whooping cranes - the first
to be established east of the Mississippi in more than
a century - has reached the halfway point on its historic
flight from future nesting grounds in central Wisconsin
to a winter home in Florida.
The six remaining birds flew 55 miles Thursday before
landing in a remote area of Adair County, Ky. They are
following an ultralight plane flown by a pilot from Operation
Migration, which has taught migration routes to juvenile
sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans.
A seventh whooping crane, No. 4, is riding in a transport
crate in one of the ground vehicles following the flight.
He split off from the flock on the first day of the migration,
Oct. 17, and continued to go his own way as the migration
continued. Crane handlers say they hope he can join the
flight later in the migration, which is expected to end
at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida
before the end of the month.
Ten cranes made the journey (in a private jet donated
by a project supporter) to Necedah in July from Patuxent
Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. One died Sept. 11
of stress during a health check by veterinarians who attached
radio transmitters to the endangered birds.
Another suffered damaged wing feathers and will become
part of a breeding program at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.
Eight juvenile birds formed the flock when they left
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin last month.
No. 3 was found dead Oct. 25 beneath a power line in Green
County, Wis., the morning after the cranes escaped when
wind gusts of 50 mph collapsed their overnight pen.
To follow the migration, see www.bringbackthecranes.org