Thursday, December 05, 2013

Whoop whoop and away.

 This is the Whooping Crane which stands five feet tall with a seven-foot wingspan and is the subject of a heartwarming story for the Christmas season.
The poor bird is still on the highly endangered list but have several wildlife refuges and dedicated researchers looking after them.
The researchers have found that like humans, survival wisdom is passed down the generations but if there are not enough old birds to teach things like how to migrate to warm Florida for the winter then the substitutes stand in.


This odd looking individual is dressed in a crane suit and he is standing in as parent to the young chick. Not only do they dress in costume but adhere to a strict no-talking rule to ensure the birds remain wild.
 The fake crane leads on the ground but also by using ultralight aircraft teaches the migration route.
The birds migrate back without guidance in the spring.

Researchers monitored the age, size and kinship of all birds that weren't led by a human, between 2002-9.
The team found that the age of the oldest individual in the group improved the migration accuracy by deviating less from the straight path. 
The article didn't mention what sex, only age, but it has to be female flying straight, you know males and their sense of direction.


River said...

I'm glad someone teaches these birds what to do and when to do it. It's important for the survival of the species. Reminds me of that movie with Anna Paquin and the geese. She learned hang gliding (in the movie) to lead geese on their flight. I don't remember the title or why she had to lead them.

Elephant's Child said...

I love it. And really need a good news story this afternoon.

Andrew said...

Five feet tall!! We thought our emus were special.

JahTeh said...

River, I remember that movie, wasn't it about Canadian Snow Geese?

EC, I just love the suit and I couldn't find a photo of the ultralight in flight.

Andrew, it's the wing span that's fantastic. Apparently the rules about these birds is listed as in, no approaching one if you find it near a road, no touching, no shooting, no tracking, you're supposed to call a professional immediately to help any bird. Sounds like the Gay scene in the 80s.

River said...

Yes, I think it was filmed in NZ.