Marty Folk, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist reports that: “Earlier I reported on a whooping crane chick in ‘nest #1’.The chick from nest #1 still survives and is 46 days of age today (May 5, 2009). The eggs that we collected from ‘nest #2′ showed no sign of embryos. The pair at nest #2 produced fertile eggs during their previous 3 nest attempts and we suspect that winter rainfall was insufficient to stimulate copulation or some aspect of egg or sperm production. We now have a new nest by a pair in Polk County. They are nesting in a lake because all marshes in the area are dry.”
Marty advised,”We continue intensive daily monitoring in order to document survival and movements of the whooping cranes. Also, as you may know, we have identified that male whooping cranes aren’t living as long as females, and that male whooping cranes are more vulnerable to collisions with power lines than females. We suspect this may be associated with the males’ propensity to lead the flocks and be the defenders of the flocks. We are also collecting behavioral data to help us learn more about this. We also continue to gather data on whooping crane feather molt. Every other year, on average, adult whoopers molt all their flight feathers and are grounded for an average of 44 days while the new feathers grow.”
Marty stated that in the area of Florida’s non-migratory whooping crane habitat there is no sign of relief here from the drought. The long days with high temperatures at 90 degrees really bake the landscape.