Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane

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October 27, 2005
Migration Day 14

Kankakee County, the Last Stop in Illinois
+56.0 Miles

More miles! At 7:45am. Brooke started out with all the birds except 516 along his wings. (#516 will be crated and transported again today, and x-rayed to check his wing. The team hopes he'll be flying with them again soon.) With a strong but smooth 9 mph tailwind to help, they covered 56 miles. Here's today's flight in photos taken by the Operation Migration team:

Richard picked-up 12 birds from Brooke's aircraft, leaving Brooke with 7.
The flight path took them over an industrialized area south of Chicago.
The birds had to fly through industrial exhaust.
Brooke, now with 6 birds, flew over a housing development and a highway interchange.

The fewer birds with one aircraft, the more benefit each bird gets from "surfing" on the air currents off the ultralight's wing. Today's flight was long, with a slight headwind. When a number of birds fell back from Brooke's wing, Richard moved in to pick up the stragglers. Brooke kept his altitude with seven birds that stayed with him. They climbed to twelve hundred feet--high enough to clear the highways without spooking the birds. But then #520 began dropping lower and lower. Joe descended fast to help. She was panting hard and anxious to join Joe's plane. "She dropped into place and soon closed her beak and began to breathe normally," said Joe. "We landed in turn with all the birds and, now familiar with the pen, they walked straight in." After 1 hour and 41 minutes of flight, they were in Kankakee County, the LAST stop in Illinois. The team is looking forward to crossing into Indiana tomorrow!

Track the Migration

Use our map or make your own with this migration data.

(Click map to enlarge.)

Keep a Migration Journal

Today's Question: Joe says,"There are so many birds with us this year that its hard to count them coming out of the pen. The lead pilot waits long enough for the air to turn white with flashing wings and then adds full power. Once airborne we rely on the ground crew or chase pilots to tell how many birds stayed behind." This is truly a team effort! Tell about a time when you were able to accomplish something only with the cooperation of others.

Record Keeping: Have you been updating your migration comparison chart?

Migration Math: An aerial census on 26 October, 2005 of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas estimated the number of wild whooping cranes arrived from Canada. They counted 91 adults + 10 young = 101 total. Approximately 235 whooping cranes are expected to arrive at Aransas this winter. What percentage of the natural wild flock has now completed the migration?



Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in cooperation with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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