The two Whooping Cranes seen near Dennison a few weeks ago, do have radio tracking devices, but they can only be picked up by radio receivers. A few others in the population have platform terminal transmitters which ping an orbiting satellite on a scheduled duty cycle and those are the ones that the researchers receive information on on a regular basis.

The current concern for the cranes is people shooting the birds. Since Nov 30, 2010 a total of 5 Whooping cranes have been shot; 3 in one incident (Georgia) and 2 in another (Alabama). While the whole population is still considered young, the cranes are forming pair bonds, and mating, building nests, and even producing eggs, but they have been abandoning their nests before hatching. Some people think it is due to the very large concentration of Black flies in the Necedah area. Something that can be dome to control the Black Flies is a bacterium found in soil called Bti or Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis. Since 1982, it has been used successfully worldwide as a biological pest control agent to combat mosquitoes and black flies.

The first Wisconsin raised chick was produced in 2006 and followed its parents to Florida. Since then it has migrated successfully and has even paired with another crane and this year they produced a chick of her own. Of the 20 nests this year, 4 have produced chicks.

The Whooping Crane recovery team made the decision this year to not release any more cranes on the Necedah refuge, until such time as the cause of the nest abandonment issue is resolved. In they will move their base of operations for the ultralight-aircraft release to the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, WI. There is more nformation available on this on Facebook at:


In theory the cranes that they work with this year will return in the spring of 2012 to the White River Marsh area. There are already some Whooping Cranes in the general vicinity and they are far away from Necedah, so the researchers have little doubt that they'll be able to find each other when the urge strikes them.


Hunters Guilty of Shooting Cranes

Two people have pleaded guilty in the death of a Whooping Crane, which was migrating from Wisconsin to Florida. Wade Bennett of Cayuga pleaded guilty March 30 in Vermillion County to false reporting. He was ordered to serve one year of probation and pay approximately $500 in fines and fees. The juvenile, who was considered the prime suspect received probation, fines and fees. Bennett was 18 when the crane was found dead on Dec. 1, 2009. The female Whooping Crane, one of less than 400 left in the wild, was the mother of the first whooping crane chick successfully hatched and fledged in the wild by cranes raised in captivity.

Hunters in southwestern Georgia found the carcasses of three whooping cranes. They were discovered on Dec. 30 near Albany, Calhoun County.Tom MacKenzie, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the three, all equipped with radio transmitters, had been tracked Dec. 10 in Hamilton, Tenn., where they were roosting. The US Fish & Wildlife service has offered a reward of $12,500 for information leading to the killers. The carcasses were sent to a lab in Oregon for examination.

Links to articles about the cranes and crane shootings.


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