Traveling with elders helps whooping cranes fly straight

Birds get more efficient the more they migrate

By Susan Milius, 17:27 PM July 30, 2013

Here’s a lesson on road trips from whooping cranes: For efficient migration, what matters is the age of the oldest crane in the group. These more experienced fliers nudge youngsters away from going off course on long flights.

“The older birds get, the closer they stick to the straight line,” says ecologist Thomas Mueller of the University of Maryland in College Park, who crunched data from 73 Grus americana migrating between Wisconsin and Florida.

One-year-olds traveling with other birds of the...

Source URL: