WHOOPING CRANE RETURNED TO WISCONSIN REFUGE AFTER MIGRATION STOP IN OHIO|
COLUMBUS, OH -- A well-photographed, juvenile whooping crane made an
unexpected stop in Morgan County last Saturday on its return migration to
Wisconsin, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The
crane was part of a flock receiving national media attention as part of a
reintroduction program that utilized an ultralight aircraft to assist its
fall migration to Florida.
One of the cranes, tagged as Number 9, landed near Bristol, Ohio on
Saturday and was transported to its final destination near Necedah National
Wildlife Refuge in central Wisconsin by biologists with the ODNR Division of
Wildlife authorities decided to capture the crane and return it to
Wisconsin for fear that the bird would not find its way back unassisted.
The whooping crane had spent the winter with other flock mates at
the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Most of the other cranes
from the 2002 ultralight-led migration arrived unassisted at the Wisconsin
wildlife refuge March 13, completing a 13-day, 1,200-mile migration journey.
Crane Number 9 was east of the migration route anticipated by
wildlife biologists and was observed near North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
April 16, near Radford, Virginia April 29, and near Buckhannon, West
Virginia May 1, before stopping in Morgan County.
The reintroduction project is being conducted by the Whooping Crane
Eastern Partnership, a group of non-profit organizations and government
agencies including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The goal is to
establish a migratory flock of whooping cranes that breed in Wisconsin and
migrate to Florida for the winter.
Ohioans can expect an increase in whooping crane sightings as the
project unfolds and a wild migratory population becomes established,
according to wildlife biologists.