Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chick Release Part 5: The Reunion

Nacho, PJ, and Havarti, who were released in the West side of the refuge managed to split up. PJ was the first to make it back to Site 3 in the predawn light. Nacho flew circles around the East Rhynerson Pool, which is featured here, and was struggling with the wind for only an hour before making it back to site 3 by 9am. Did I mention that there was an epic wind storm that day?

Havarti waited another half hour before taking off and testing the wind. She didn't even bother with the circles. She flew almost directly back to Site 3. That's my little girl :,D

Havarti flying on this crazy windy day straight back to Site 3

The Group in the North reunited. Roq and Ric survived their night in the woods/marsh. They only flew around the North (The marsh up there is called the Sprague-Mather Pool or SMP) that first day. They mostly stayed with 11-03/12-03 and a whole bunch of sandhills. During the next 3 days they surprised us by flying south just to the area where we released the chicks on the west side of the refuge, but didn't fly enough to find site 3. They flew back North that same day and roosted with 11-03/12-03 again.  Finally on Oct 28th, right when we trackers were switching shifts, they managed to fly back site 3. My shift had been about to start: I heard the signals of all 4 birds very faintly, and then I heard nothing. I called up my co-worker who was tracking the south half of the refuge (where site 3 is located), and sure enough. All 11 chicks were reunited at site 3, and they were all hanging out with their usual adult friends, 11-02/30-08 or 'the jones's'.

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