WUFT News

Whooping cranes migrate to Florida with aircraft assistance

By on November 27th, 2012

As winter approaches, Florida is expecting an influx of “snowbirds” or people who head south during the colder months. In addition to these people, real birds are also making the trip down to the Sunshine State.

Whooping crane

Larry Meade / Flickr

Whooping cranes learn to migrate from ultralight planes.

Ultralight aircraft led five whooping cranes from Wisconsin to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Wakulla County. The cranes started their journey in early September and arrived Tuesday.

David Lopez, a whooping crane biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said the ultralight planes teach the cranes how to migrate because they are not able to do so on their own.

“They view this ultralight plane, which is basically a hang glider with an engine on it, as their parent,” Lopez said. “They learn to follow it around at a very early age, and once they can fly they learn to fly behind it.”

This year only five birds made the journey, a smaller number than usual.

Abandonment issues and low breeding are being investigated through experiments as reasons for the smaller number, according to Lopez. Black flies may be a contributing factor because they are known to bite the whooping cranes, which causes them to leave their nests.

This is the 12th group guided by ultralight aircraft to the Gulf Coast, according to the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.

The partnership said about 450 whooping cranes live in the wild. About 115 reside in the eastern part of North America.

Cassandra Vangellow wrote this story for online. 


This entry was posted in Environment, Florida and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Pingback: Whooping cranes migrate to Florida with aircraft assistance – WUFT | Learn to Fly

  • http://www.facebook.com/donna.ethridgesilva Donna Ethridge Silva

    It was a beautiful sight to see them flying over St Marks it was our first time to see this it is amazing I took lots of pictures

  • Plow Comms

    If we examine the contrast between liberty and servitude, we discover that the “negative” sense of liberty does not reduce its desirability.

 

More Stories in Environment

The invasive air potato vine has met its match with the introduction of the air potato leaf beetle. This beetle could control the aggressive plant.

Air Potato Beetle Becomes Big Help To Florida Farmers

With the controlled release of the air potato leaf beetle in Florida and around the U.S., the aggressive air potato vine finally has a predator.


Attendance at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park increased by more than 100,000 visitors in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

US Forest Service Proposes Requirements for Photography in Wilderness Areas

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a rule that would require media to get a permit before filming or photographing in wilderness areas, or else face a fine. The proposed rule has been met with opposition on the grounds that it violates First Amendment rights.


Water-Saving Technologies And Conservation Goals Cut Confusion

According to a recent survey, most people are confused about water conservation. Small efforts add up, but awareness of water consumption is most important, according to GRU.


Only a few areas of the Alachua Sink have open-water surfaces. Rangers believe the cooler, dryer weather typical of Florida winters will kill off some of the vegetation growing on the surface.

Paynes Prairie Trail Undergoes Reclamation Project

Construction on the La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park began Monday as part of an effort to re-establish the area of Paynes Prairie as a wetland ecosystem.


Florida-Friendly Landscaping Saves Water And Fertilizer

According to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Center for Public Issues Education (PIE) website, many Floridians are willing to do their part in conserving water.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments