Archive for the ‘Necedah NWR’ Category

First chick of the year hatches in Wisconsin

May 18, 2014

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership has announced that the first chick of 2014 has hatched at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. More nests are due to hatch in the upcoming days and weeks.

Read the full story at The Journal Times.


April 1, 2013

Editor Note:  This exceptional article by Joe Duff  is posted with permission of Operation Migration. Joe has a way with words as well as flying ultralight planes to lead young whooping cranes on their first migrations. The article is a lesson that should be read by all who venture onto wild lands and encounter wildlife. Please read and pass it on. Thanks Joe and O.M.

by Joe Duff, Operation Migration, Mar. 27, 2013

Earlier this month Fox 13 News in Tampa Bay posted an article about two photographers who overstepped the line of ethical wildlife observation by handling a two week-old Sandhill crane chick. They were captured on film and now wildlife officials say they could face charges if they can be found.

People do a lot worse to animals than handling their offspring, and although it is not condoned, that’s not the interesting part of this story. What is more telling is the mixed reactions posted in the comments section. Some people feel the perpetrators should be shot for their transgressions while others think they had every right to play with a baby bird.

The most common reaction is that maybe they didn’t know they were not allowed to handle wildlife. That excuse was also suggested when Whooping cranes were shot by kids showing off to their girlfriends. Many people commented that if the shooters had known what they were, or if more education was available, those birds wouldn’t have been shot — with a high powered rifle — on private property — at night. If that was a valid defence you could simply say, “Sorry I burned your house down. I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to”. Ignorance of the law is not a defence, it is simply ignorance – not only of the rules but also of our responsibility to nature.

The fact that we even need laws at all is evidence of how we view our relationship with the environment. If we truly appreciated the connection between nature and ourselves, rules to protect it would be as unnecessary as a law against destroying our own wealth.

The planet, in all its complexity is the producer of everything we have, the materials we use to build our society, the water we drink, even the air we breathe. There is no other source for those essentials yet we use them as if they were inexhaustible. We are the prodigal heirs of a rich family. We did nothing to create the prosperity and we lack the ability, or the motivation, to maintain our inheritance, yet we spend the wealth with no concern for the future. But the environment was not inherited from our grandparents, More accurately it is borrowed from our grandchildren.

So what does it matter that a photographer in Florida handled a Sandhill chick to get a better picture when cranes are hunted in some states? It matters because it demonstrates how little we care about the creatures around us. Through his willingness to ignore the rules, he chose his own gratification over the welfare of the chick. Whether it was a desire for a better photograph or simple curiosity, he threatened the life of that bird for his own benefit. His ignorance of the consequences is as inexcusable as his ignorance of the law.

For those who think no harm was done, you don’t understand the stress load on the parent. A crane may abandon their chicks if the threat is too great. Instinct tells them it is better to escape and reproduce again next season than to be injured defending a chick that will perish as a result. If the chick is lost, the adult will survive, but if the adult is injured, they will both die.

As for the chick, they are vulnerable at that age. They hatch neither tame nor wild but have a natural fear of the unfamiliar. Most of their wildness is learned from the parent. An adult bird will remain wary despite several encounters with people, but a chick can become complacent after only one. Despite our good intentions, tame birds have a far shorter life span that their wild counterparts.

The point is, that all creatures are part of the ecosystems that make the world work. Damaging them even slightly, can have long term consequences that at some point will affect our lives. If we want to protect our future, we must learn to respect nature, even the baby Sandhills.

Bob Hunter, one of the founders of Green Peace, once said, “Conservationists are a pain in the ass, but they make great ancestors.”

Chick with “pedigree” Hatches at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin

May 17, 2011

Article by International Crane Foundation — May 11, 2011

The French word for crane, grue, gives us the English word pedigree – from pied de grue, meaning literally “foot of the crane.” The shape of the crane’s foot (right) refers to a succession mark made on French genealogy charts.

On April 10th the first Whooping Crane chick (W1-11) of the season hatched in a wild nest at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in central Wisconsin. The mother of this chick (W1-06) was the first chick to hatch in the wild in Wisconsin in over 100 years. It was an historic day in 2006, and now just five years later – she has produced her own wild offspring. The father (#10-03) of the new chick stems from a captive pair at the San Antonio Zoo. He was released at Necedah NWR in 2003 to learn the migration route behind an ultralight aircraft. The maternal grandparents are both “ultralight” birds. Grandmother (#17-02) was shot during migration in Indiana in 2009.

Tracking parentage and relatedness in Whooping Crane population management is vital because of the genetic bottleneck they went through in the 1930s. Genetic diversity is important because it keeps the population healthy. A team of crane experts manage the lineage of captive Whooping Cranes in a “studbook”, while the reintroduced wild birds are tracked in a database. Read more about the Whooping Crane Conservation story.

May 13, 2011 Update

The Necedah NWR reports that three Whooping Crane chicks hatched this week at the reserve. Unfortunately, the first chick, W1-11, has not been sighted recently. We still celebrate her story and the hope that all three chicks bring for the population!

Wild Whooping Crane Chicks Hatch at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge

May 12, 2011

Wisconsin — May 12 2011

Whooping Crane ChicksThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) are celebrating another success in efforts to reintroduce a wild migratory whooping crane population in eastern North America.

Three whooping crane chicks hatched this week at Necedah NWR in central Wisconsin. The first chick to hatch this season was the offspring of wild whooping crane W1-06.  W1-06 was hatched and raised in 2006 on Necedah NWR and is the first wild offspring from the eastern whooping crane reintroduction project started more than a decade ago.

The additional two chicks are the offspring of other well-established whooping crane pairs.  Sadly, refuge biologists have been unable to locate the first chick in recent monitoring efforts. The chick may have been predated.

“Although we are disappointed by the potential loss of the first chick, we are encouraged by this first successful nesting and hatching of a wild-born chick, from a wild-born parent,” said Necedah National Wildlife Refuge Manager Doug Staller.  “Refuge staff is committed to working toward the ultimate goal of a self-sustaining eastern flock of migratory whooping cranes and actively monitors additional nests of whooping crane pairs on the Refuge.”

There are approximately 105 whooping cranes in the eastern migratory population including at least 20 nesting pairs, also a record number for this reintroduced population. In addition to the three chicks hatched in the wild this week at Necedah NWR, three chicks have fledged in the wild during the course of the reintroduction project, which began in 2001. 

 “The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership’s focus over the next five years is successful reproduction in the wild flock, and the recently hatched chicks, in addition to the three previously fledged wild-hatched chicks are a very promising start to achieving this goal,” said Joel Trick, acting project leader for the Service’s Green Bay Ecological Services Field Office and WCEP representative. “We continue to work to identify the factors that may contribute to nest failure, and are working to address those challenges through active nest management and captive-reared releases.”
This year marks an important transition for whooping crane recovery efforts at Necedah NWR. The effort has shifted from the population depending upon introduction of captive-reared birds to the population being supported through wild whooping cranes producing eggs, hatching chicks and fledging young.

Since whooping cranes have been absent from the upper Midwest for over 120 years, WCEP plans to continue studying factors that improve reproductive success as well as how reintroduced whooping cranes use the habitats they encounter following release. These data will refine the understanding of what determines overall success for whooping crane reintroduction in the upper Midwest.

Original Article