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Whooping cranes learn migration from wise elders


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Follow my leader (Image: Heather Ray/Operation Migration USA Inc)
The eastern US population of whooping cranes (Grus americana) spend summers in Wisconsin and winters in Florida. Conservation efforts to reintroduce the endangered species into the wild have shown scientists that it's not just an inner GPS that helps the cranes navigate their seasonal migrations. The birds play a game of follow the wisest leader.

 

"The learning process of this migration happens over many years and it's something that is culturally learned," says Thomas Mueller of the University of Maryland, who analysed data on whooping-crane flight gathered via radio, and satellite among other methods. "The knowledge itself doesn't just exist."

 

Read more: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24122-whooping-cranes-learn-migration-from-wise-elders.html#.UifXdzZjt8E

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