Operation Migration is a non-profit organization devoted to the reintroduction of endangered Whooping Cranes throughout North America.

 

Let the Bidding Begin!

Bidding is NOW open on our 2014 online Facebook auction!

We’re very excited to have 34 WONDERFUL items in this auction, all donated by YOU, our faithful supporters! Here’s where the items are located: http://on.fb.me/XZmyVm. Here’s how the online auction works:
  • Bidding opens on Tuesday, September 2nd and closes at noon, Central time on Friday, September 26th. *Any bids received prior to Sept. 2nd will be removed.*
  • The minimum bid amount in no way reflects the fair market value of each item. Instead the minimum bid amount was established to cover postage/packaging costs within North America.
  • To place a bid, please leave a comment on the photo of the item you are bidding on, including the amount of your bid.
  • If you are outbid, you may increase your bid by posting another comment, should you choose to.
  • At the conclusion of the auction, you will be contacted for payment information, and upon receipt of payment your item will be sent to you.
ALL funds raised will go to Operation Migration and the Class of 2014 Whooping cranes. If you have any questions, please email Jbellemer(AT)operationmigration.org.

HAPPY BIDDING!

Just a couple of the items available on Tuesday, September 2nd in our online auction!

Just a couple of the items available on Tuesday, September 2nd in our online auction!

Ready! Set!! BID!!!

On Tuesday, 9/2, bidding will open on our 2014 online auction. In the meantime, you can peruse the items on our FaceBook page as they are added. We’re very excited to have 34 WONDERFUL items in this auction, all donated by YOU, our faithful supporters! Here’s where the items are located: http://on.fb.me/XZmyVm. You may see just a few items at first, but rest assured that ALL 34 items will be posted by the time bidding opens on 9/2. Here’s how the online auction works:
  • Bidding opens on Tuesday, September 2nd and closes at noon, Central time on Friday, September 26th. *Any bids received prior to Sept. 2nd will be removed.*
  • The minimum bid amount in no way reflects the fair market value of each item. Instead the minimum bid amount was established to cover postage/packaging costs within North America.
  • To place a bid, please leave a comment on the photo of the item you are bidding on, including the amount of your bid.
  • If you are outbid, you may increase your bid by posting another comment, should you choose to.
  • At the conclusion of the auction, you will be contacted for payment information, and upon receipt of payment your item will be sent to you.
ALL funds raised will go to Operation Migration and the Class of 2014 Whooping cranes. If you have any questions, please email Jbellemer(AT)operationmigration.org.

HAPPY BIDDING!

Just a couple of the items available on Tuesday, September 2nd in our online auction!

Just a couple of the items available on Tuesday, September 2nd in our online auction!

The Boys Are Back in Town…

And they brought reinforcements. Yesterday morning, as Geoff and Doug waited patiently for the fog to clear at White River Marsh, and the CraneCam viewers waited not-so-patiently for the same thing, we were treated to the surreal sound of Whooping cranes calling in the distance. Looking for white birds in the early morning fog is very much like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack so we all settled for just enjoying their haunting vocalizations. Not long after (yes, we were still on a fog delay), sub-adult Whooping cranes 4-12 & 5-12 came sauntering along the grass training strip from the north. Man, do they have swagger… They weren’t alone - behind them was the Sandhill crane pair that also frequents the training site. I wondered if they had devised a plan to gang up on the costumes and steal their grapes? "I’ll create a diversion and get the tall tume to come after me - you jumprake the short one and when he’s down GO FOR THE GRAPES"! (It’s amazing what goes through your mind while you wait for fog to clear) Alas, there was nothing that scandalous afoot, although they did take turns strutting past the costumes on several occasions - seemingly baiting them to get aggressive and chase them off. Once Brooke appeared in the aircraft off in the distance, the Nerf balls made their first appearance of the season and the two were chased off (the cranes - not the costumes). Some of you may be wondering ‘Why Nerf balls’? Try chasing a Whooping crane away while you’re wearing rubber boots. The Nerf balls won’t hurt them should the costumes actually have good throwing arms (they don’t) and it’s an effective way to get them to leave. Now you’re wondering ‘Why do you want them to leave’? Well, mainly because they can be unpredictable - they are wild cranes - and they could become aggressive toward our young cranes, and well that’s a risk we don’t want to take. Doug Pellerin (one of the costumes that can’t throw a Nerf ball) captured and sent along the following images for your viewing pleasure.
Whooping cranes and Sandhill cranes

4-12 & 5-12 show up for training - with reinforcements.

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2 yr. old Whooping crane 5-12 stares down the costume, while 4-12 preens in the background.

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CHIP IN Winner!

Here’s a FUN way to support whooping cranes! 

Purchase a 2014 Whooping crane Chip from our Marketplace for $20. Each Chip is individually numbered and contains an alpha/numeric code. As soon as you receive your Chip in the mail, visit www.coinlogin.org to register your name and email, along with your Chip number and code. Over the next few months, we’ll be holding random draws for some fun items so keep an eye on your inbox. Once all the Chips are gone, we’ll hold FOUR additional draws:
  • Two for CITGO gas cards, valued at $100 each.
  • $500 CASH
  • A flight back seat with our CEO, Joe Duff as pilot, while he flies in the chase position with the Class of 2014 Whooping cranes!
There are only 1000 Chips available, so be sure to order yours soon so you don’t miss out!
CHIP_IN

Get YOUR Chip Now!

When we launched this campaign last week, we mentioned we would hold random prize draws throughout the campaign, until all of the Chips are sold. Last evening we selected a number from the 305 Chips, which have been registered thus far and the winning chip is number 617 - Registered to: Karen Crawford. Karen will receive an OM prize pack in the mail shortly. The prize pack includes all of the items pictured below. Congratulations Karen! IMG_20140717_101047_Prize_pack

A Break in the Weather

Yesterday morning provided good weather conditions and allowed for Brooke to train with six of our seven young Whooping cranes. Our only male crane this year, no. 4-14 developed a limp yesterday morning so he stayed behind in the pen to not stress the injury further. He was examined yesterday afternoon by Dr. Barry Hartup from the International Crane Foundation and the UW Veterinary Care - University Wisconsin, who determined the injury to be involving the soft tissue surrounding his right hock joint, so he’ll be on the disabled list for at least a week to allow it to heal. Number 4-14 will be on a week long regime of medication to help alleviate pain. Dr. Hartup believes the injury occurred when a strong storm passed through the area early Monday morning. The cranes have a habit of getting excited in windy conditions and leaping in the air. Chances are he landed wrong and jarred the leg. Despite the downtime due to recent poor weather, all the girls did great flying with the aircraft and logged over 15 minutes of air time. Four seemed to even find the sweet spot behind the wing where they get the benefit of riding the vortices that spill off the wingtips. In addition to those watching the action LIVE on the CraneCam, they also had a feathered audience of two adult Whooping cranes to witness their great progress. Cranes 4-12 & 5-12 watched from the north end of the training strip and seemed impressed with the ladies. Tom Schultz captured the following images for us to share with you.
Four of the Whooper ladies fly with Brooke.

Four of the Whooper ladies fly with Brooke.

Brooke passes out the grapes as a reward for a job well done.

Brooke passes out the grapes as a reward for a job well done.

Our only male Whooping crane has somehow sustained a soft tissue injury involving his right leg.

Our only male Whooping crane has somehow sustained a soft tissue injury involving his right leg.

In case you missed it, here’s a clip showing all the action! Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Timing is Everything

Joan asks - “Does all these no-training days become a problem for the cranes flight schedule”?

If only we could hatch the cranes earlier so they would fledge in July. That way they would be ready to leave on the migration in August when the weather is still cooperating.

In July the calm mornings allow us to train almost every day, but toward the end of August the fall weather system sets in and training days become as rare as Whooping cranes. It is bad timing because that is just when we need good flying conditions to increase their endurance and keep them following.

This is the season when bad habits are dangerous. If we get another episode of behavior like number 10 displayed earlier in the summer, we don’t have the flying days to correct it. The problem just gets worse as time goes on and the start of migration turns into a fiasco and we have all seen that one act play.

There is nothing we can do about good weather withdrawal. We go through the 12 steps from denial to anger and finally acceptance.  Then, when Indian Summer finally arrives, we start over and somewhere in central Illinois it all comes together. The birds finally get the message.

We get a few flyable days in a row and the reward is a long string of pearls off the wing tip of the lead aircraft and a light at the end of the migration tunnel.

All we can do now is cross our fingers and know that we will see you on the other side.

Yearling Whoopers

On Thursday, we reported the Class of 2013 Whooping cranes had reunited in Dodge County, WI. It seems it was a brief reunion. Gary Masemore sent along this image he captured yesterday showing yearlings 3, 4, 5 & 9-13 again without classmates 7 & 8-13. They’re all still in the same area - just not together - at the moment.
whooping crane group of yearlings

Whooping cranes 2, 4, 5, & 9-13 foraging near Horicon NWR on July 25.

Training Recap

Following windy conditions on both Monday and Tuesday of this week, the cranes have trained for the past two days. Chick’s 8 & 10-14 both seem reluctant to come out of the wetpen to train but once they’re encourage to exit, number 8 does better than the younger number 10, who prefers to wander off into the field to the northwest of the training strip. She pokes and prods and forages for whatever insecty treats she can find, until she realizes that the aircraft is leaving without her. Then she trots across the field back toward the training strip, seemingly panicked that she’ll be left alone. Yesterday during the training session we could hear the two-year old Whooping crane calling occasionally. We knew he was nearby but didn’t see him until the session was over and we spotted him in the pond, calling triumphantly as the aircraft departed. Doug Pellerin sent along the following images he captured while hiding inside the crane enclosure and while the chicks were outside training with the aircraft. It turns out number 5-12 - a former student, was standing behind the wetpen for most of the training session.
2 year old Whooping crane 5-12 stands behind the wetpen while training takes place with the Class of 2014

2 year old Whooping crane 5-12 stands behind the wetpen while training takes place with the Class of 2014

The crane chicks exit the pen ready to follow the aircraft.

The crane chicks exit the pen ready to follow the aircraft.

Richard spends some one-on-one time with chicks 8-14 & 10-14.

Richard spends some one-on-one time with chicks 8-14 & 10-14.

WHOOP! Here it is!

We have a great way for Craniacs to help raise funds AND friends for Whooping cranes!

If you’ve been following our work you’re no doubt familiar with our Give A WHOOP! campaign. Meant to be a quick and fun way to celebrate milestone events; whether they be milestones in the development of our new class of Whooping cranes chicks, such as eggs hatching, or first flight, or milestone events in our supporters lives (birthdays, anniversaries) worthy of celebrating - this campaign is a way for you to WHOOP! in celebration of something and to post a message with your gift. Now YOU can create your own Give A WHOOP! page, which can very easily be shared via email or your social networking sites! Random prize draws will be made throughout the year for both fundraisers and donors and include USB bracelets with the OM logo, embroidered Whooping crane patches, and a copy of a beautiful coffee table book: The Whooping Crane - Images From The Wild by Klauss Nigge.

Want to get started? Visit this link for easy to follow instructions to create your own Give A WHOOP! page.

Currently seven Craniacs have created their own Give A WHOOP! page and we’ve just tossed all the names into a bowl and we’re ready to announce the first winner of a USB bracelet featuring the Operation Migration logo. The winner is…. Lori Verhagan! Lori has raised over a thousand dollars for the Class of 2014 just by sharing her fundraising page on Facebook! Way to go Lori - keep an eye on your mailbox.
Lori Verhagen's Give A WHOOP! page.

Lori Verhagen’s Give A WHOOP! page.

Class Reunion!

Soon after returning to Wisconsin this past spring the Class of 2013 - now a year old - broke up into two groups. In one group was 7-13 & 8-13 and in the other was four cranes, 2-13, 4-13, 5-13 & 9-13. The group of four spent an afternoon at the White River Marsh training site prior to the arrival of the Class of 2014 cranes much to the delight of the CraneCam viewers. Meanwhile, the duo moved east to Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County, WI Well now it seems they’ve found each other and the two groups are again one group of six. Doug Pellerin managed to capture the following images on Tuesday and is sharing them with us (and you). Many thanks Doug!
Whooping cranes and Sandhill cranes at Horicon

The six stark white Whooping cranes stick out among the large group of Sandhills cranes.

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