Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Friday, December 4, 2009

An achingly sad announcement


Whooping Crane
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Liz Condie of Operation Migration posted the following news yesterday:
FIRST FAMILY MATRIARCH DEAD Location: Cumberland Co. IL
217*, mate of 211, the pair whose offspring is W601*, is dead. Because W601* was the first Whooping crane to be hatched in the wild in the U.S. in more than a century (in 2006), the threesome was dubbed the First Family. (A second chick was also hatched - W602, but was predated on the Necedah NWR in late summer of 2006.)

In a report received late yesterday, Dr. Richard Urbanek advised that the mortality was discovered on Tuesday by WCEP Tracker and ICF Tracking Field Manager, Eva Szyskoski during an aerial flight over Vermillion County, IN, a traditional migration stop for this pair.

Richard reported, that while the male was was spotted 217* was not visible. Her transmitter signal was tracked to a location a few miles away where her carcass was found by Tracking Intern Jess Thompson. Richard noted that the recovery site was not the mortality site. The carcass has gone for necropsy to the National Wildlife Heath Center in Madison, WI.

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