April is the month of big departures from the Texas wintering grounds. It's also when many eastern cranes will already reach their Wisconsin nesting grounds. Whooping Cranes
migrate in small groups that leave at different times. These staggered departures help the species survive. The entire
flock would be in peril if all
the birds flew together and encountered a blizzard or tornadoes, or couldn't find food in ponds still covered with ice. The closer the families get to the nesting grounds, the more urgently the parents move. They must get back to lay eggs so the new chicks will have enough time to grow before fall migration. By the time the adults reach their familiar nesting territory, the "kids" are ready for independence. Some have already left Mom and Dad to hang out with subadult pals.