Marty Folk, Avian Research, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has provided WCCA with Update #6 for the Florida Non-migratory whooping crane flock. The Florida flock has experienced some serious difficulties during the past two years. Drought conditions in the whoopers Florida range have made the situation much worse. Yet, the Florida Avain Research team continues to monitor the whoopers.
Marty Folk advised, “Perhaps you have been waiting by your computer for my next report…sorry to take so long. I’ve been waiting to announce that our whooping crane chick fledged. The chick is 111 days old today. It is likely the chick fledged long ago, but I haven’t reported it yet, because we have not verified this. There are at least several reasons…this is a relatively immobile pair that doesn’t go anywhere. Apparently their territory supplies everything they need; there is no hurry to fly. Secondly, about the time the chick would have been fledging, the male shed his flight feathers (It takes 44± days to regrow them). Because crane families like to “stick together”, this means the family is grounded for a while. We expect the male to be flight-capable again in a couple weeks.”
Marty adds, “As expected, we saw no further nesting after my last report below. We ended the season with 4 nests and 1 chick.”