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.