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News in Photos: Whooping Crane guided by an Operation Migration ultralight

This young whooping crane is on its first fall migration, guided by an Operation Migration ultralight. Brown bars on its wings will fade by the time this bird migrates north in spring. Whoopers in the Eastern population have identifying bands, and many carry tracking devices that record their movements in detail. Whooping cranes learn how to migrate by following elders in their midst, suggesting that social influence has a large bearing on the birds’ culture, scientists said on August 29, 2013. Many migration studies are done in short-lived species like songbirds, or by comparing a young bird to an older bird, said University of Maryland biologist Thomas Mueller, an expert on animal migration and the study’s lead scientist. “Here we could look over the course of the individual animals’ lifetimes, and show that learning takes place over many years.”

Photo Credit: AFP PHOTO / JOE DUFF

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