I'm not sure which birth order is the most advantageous. Being the oldest of four girls, I often attempted to dazzle my three younger sisters with my wisdom only to be taken down a notch by theirs. Over the years, I've come to regard them as my role models for various reason. The moral of this story? Don't underestimate the young.
With Christmas falling on Sunday, I ran out of Sundays in 2011 with one whooping crane chick left to report on. Number 12-11 entered the world with difficulty, requiring assistance during her hatching—not a good sign. Described as weak and puny, she was closely observed for the first several days until she gained strength and vigor. Early during flight training, this youngster showed signs of courage by standing up to the older chicks who attempted to throw their weight around. Then she grew submissive and let the others steal her grapes. Once migration began, she proved to be a strong and eager flyer—sometimes. So the jury is still out on this little girl. However, when I look at her baby picture, I see determination in those big, dark eyes and feel certain that she will develop into a role model for chicks in years to come. Operation Migration makes it easy to keep track of all the cranes' progress by going to their website and searching under Whooping Crane Photos and Bios. http://www.operationmigration.org/sitemap.html
Right now the Class of 2011 has been in Franklin County, Alabama since December 11, waiting out bad weather and the holidays. This information and the chick's photo came from the OM website.
Read more about the Class of 2011 by going to "In the Field," then "Site Map," and scrolling down until you see the bios for the various classes. You can also purchase whooping crane merchandize on the website: jewelry, T-shirts, greeting cards, etc (great for Christmas gifts), or sponsor migration miles. There are more than 500 left for this year.
Tune in next week for migration progress on the entire flock.