The news thus far this whooping crane migration season, has been decidedly mixed, with an early start in some instances, slow progress in others, and what has seemed like no progress at all for the young whooping crane chicks that follow the ultralights. After such a hopeful start to the ultralight migration two weeks ago, the weather in Wisconsin has kept the ultralight airplanes, the seven young whooping cranes that follow them, and their ultralight pilot-guides and ground crews on the ground day after day in Marquette County. Those of us who live in Wisconsin are well aware how little we’ve seen of the sun since September began! It’s no surprise here that this has translated into a long string of “no fly” days. But bad weather can’t last forever – that’s the silver lining for the ultralight chicks.
And in other migration news, the official beginning of migration for the rest of the Eastern Migratory Population (the EMP) was announced at the International Crane Foundation’s Facebook page on Thursday. ICF’s Eva Szyszkoski had tracked seven of Wisconsin’s cranes to Greene County, Indiana.
Embedded in Eva’s report was the exceptionally good news that the EMP’s one surviving wild chick, and the chick’s male parent were among those cranes. There’s been little news about this special pair of cranes – the single surviving wild chick of 2014 (#w3-14) and her father (#12-02) – since late August when the sad news about the disappearance (and presumed death) or the mother crane, #19-04, was announced. (The Badger & the Whooping Crane offered some history of the crane family in the post, “A Single Parent Whooping Crane.”)
In its September Update the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership noted that on September 8, crane w3-14 had been captured for banding (and released). Now comes this new sighting of the crane chick and the father on migration, and it’s a real cause for celebration.