All cranes in the Class of 2014 have returned to Florida

Operation Migration
11-DEC-2015 - Operation Migration is following the migration of a number of whooping cranes. They do this partly by literally flying together with the cranes to their destination. Nature Today regularly publishes the updates provided by the Operation Migration members.
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This morning I received a PTT hit on female sub-adult Whooping crane 10-14*, which placed her at the St. Marks NWR winter release pen!

Because the hits we had been getting for her were from the same locations that hits for 3-14* were reporting, we knew these two were traveling together and hoped they were still with two males: 4-12 and 4-14 (Peanut), as they had spent several weeks together at White River Marsh during the summer/fall.

Migrating cranes

I messaged refuge manager Terry Peacock – who alerted their tracker – who just confirmed us that all four were indeed present at the St. Marks winter site!

This makes a total of EIGHT Whooping cranes which have returned to St. Marks NWR in the past few weeks. The original four are: 5-12, 9-14*, 7-14* and 4-13.

The new arrivals had been blown east into east-central Georgia in mid-November and made one foray to McIntosh County, GA on the Atlantic coast. Very soon after they returned north to Jenkins County. Yesterday morning a hit came in for 3-14, which placed her near Live Oak, FL ~80 miles east of St. Marks. They made it!

All cranes in the Class of 2014 have returned to Florida!

Here’s a map grab showing the southward route flown by the four that arrived at St. Marks late yesterday.

The southward route flown by the four that arrived at St. Marks

Tekst: Heather Ray, Operation Migration Inc.
Photo's: Operation Migration Inc.

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