[Taxacom] whooping crane migrations
kennethkinman at webtv.net
Sat Feb 4 22:31:10 CST 2012
It's been a weird year for whooping crane migration. Mild winter
weather has parts of both the central wild flock and the re-introduced
eastern flock not completing their normal migrations to the coasts.
Some eastern whoopers spending the winter in Indiana and
some central whoopers wintering in Nebraska and Kansas. And the three
whooping cranes which spent much of December and January in central
Kansas were last seen in Kansas on January 24th and spotted back in
Nebraska on January 27th.
So the northward migration here in the central United
States has begun extremely early this year. Been a really weird year,
but perhaps that's a good thing here on the central flyway, since
conditions on the Texas coast (at Aransas) were certainly not very good
this year. Frankly, I think it is probably a good thing that whooper
wintering grounds are expanding, just in case something really bad
happens on the coast during the winter.
Could say that some of the whoopers are
putting "fewer of their eggs in one winter basket." Sort of like
diversifying a stock portfolio, diversifying where whoopers winter is
probably a good bet. Perhaps they are trying to tell us we still have a
lot to learn about what is best for them in the long run, especially as
weather patterns continue to shift (although in unpredictable ways from
year to year).
P.S. Although it is not surprising that some whooping cranes are
wintering further north this year, it is kind of weird that snowy owls
would be wintering far to the south the same year. Probably shows just
how desperate some snowy owls are to avoid overcrowding or other
pressures in the Arctic and seeking food far to the south. Who would
have thought one could have had so many snowy owls wintering in the same
areas as whooping cranes in the United States. Very weird, but perhaps
global warming will have other weird surprises in the years to come
(although certainly not every year). Next year could return to normal
(no whooping cranes wintering with snowy owls).
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