The Whooping Crane Eastern
Partnership (WCEP) has informed ANN that one of the juvenile cranes
presumed lost in the storms that hit central Florida on Feb. 1 and
2 has been found.
Project biologists with the International Crane Foundation
picked up the radio signal of crane 15-06 on Saturday afternoon
near the pensite at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
where the other birds perished in the storm. They lost the signal
briefly before picking it up again on Sunday, tracking the young
bird to an area in Citrus County, some miles away from the pensite.
The juvenile crane was observed from the air in good remote habitat
with two sandhill cranes. Number 15-06 is in the same area with
three whooping cranes from the Class of 2005.
During the last leg of the ultralight-led migration last fall,
crane 15-06 dropped out, but was found nearby two days later and
brought to the pensite with his flockmates.
“Finding 15-06 alive represents a ray of light during an
otherwise dark time for whooping crane recovery,” said John
Christian, co-chair of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.
“While we are still recovering from the initial shock of
the loss of so many other young birds, this latest development
demonstrates the resilience of this particular crane, and our
partnership will bounce back as well.”
Seventeen juvenile whooping cranes died as a result of the
storms that swept through central Florida during the evening and
early morning of Feb. 1 and 2.
WCEP is still determining the cause of death of the 17 whooping
cranes, which were part of the ultralight-led “Class of
2006” and arrived at the Chassahowitzka NWR in mid
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership founding members are the
International Crane Foundation, Operation Migration Inc., Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research
Center and National Wildlife Health Center, the National Fish and
Wildlife Foundation, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin,
and the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team.