The whooping crane experiment in the Eastern U.S. is trying something new this fall. Wildlife officials hope some young birds will migrate south with older cranes… instead of behind ultralight aircraft. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
The whooping crane experiment in the Eastern U.S. is trying something new this fall.
Wildlife officials hope some young birds will migrate south with older cranes instead of
behind ultra light aircraft. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach
For five years, researchers trying to create a migrating flock of whooping cranes have had
younger birds follow ultra lights for the cranes first trip to Florida, but this year wildlife
officials also trained four young whoopers to associate with older cranes at their summer
nesting area in Wisconsin. The hope is the young birds will migrate with the older ones
and not need a human guide.
Larry Wargowsky manages the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. He says the effort
called, “Direct Autumn Release,” aims to better mimic nature and save money.
“The ultra light training is very time consuming, very expensive because you have a
group of people that are involved with it from day one all the way through to migration in
the fall, whereas the direct autumn release takes fewer people. You don’t need planes.”
Wargowsky predicts the ultra light aircraft will eventually be phased out of the whooping
crane reintroduction program.
For the GLRC, I’m Chuck Quirmbach.