This young whooping crane is on its first fall migration, guided by an Operation Migration ultralight aircraft. Each whooper in this population wears an identification band, and many carry tracking devices that record their movements in detail.
Credit Joe Duff / Operation Migration USA Inc.
All the whooping cranes studied by the University of Maryland team received the same initial flight training as chicks, following an Operation Migration ultralight from Wisconsin to Florida in the fall. The <em>Science </em>study looked at data on their subsequent migrations — without the plane — beginning with the following spring.
Being a wildlife biologist in the 21st century increasingly means rescuing rare animals from extinction. Among the success stories is the whooping crane. Seventy years ago there were only about 16 birds left on the planet. Now there are about 600.