Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane

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December 8, 2005
Migration Day 56

No flying today. Operation Migration.

Still Grounded in Terrell County, GA
+0 Miles

As forecasted, rain moved into the area: no flight today. Some of the crew will help at the new Marion County, Florida stopover site today. They will work on final touches to the pen, and put up the top-net on the smaller holding pen. This is where they young cranes are headed. After they arrive, the team will decide if and when to take the final flight to the winter home at Chassahowitzka NWR. What does the decision depend upon? Read on:

A New Plan for the 2005 Chicks
There are now 41 birds in the reintroduced eastern flock. They migrate on their own to Chassahowitzka NWR where the ultralights dropped them off in their first year. The pen has no top net so the birds have freedom to come and go as they learn to be wild. So far, 21 big white whoopers have already arrived in Florida. These "oldsters" check out the pen, hoping for free food like in the old days when they were chicks there. They think of this as THEIR site. If the younger birds had arrived, the adults might fight with them or drive them off "their" territory. Do you see the problem here? The team thinks a new site is needed for the 2005 cohort until all the adult birds have arrived, checked out the pen, found nothing there, and spread out to better locations. By stopping "early" and using Halpata Tastanaki Preserve as a temporary holding site for a few weeks, the team hopes the older cranes will have cleared out of the Chassahowitzka pen site. So, if older birds are stil at the Chassahowitzka pen site, the team will end this migration temporarily at Halpata. By mid-January the Project Direction Team will have to decide whether to leave the birds there or to move them to Chassahowitzka. The lives of these birds are valuable, and the team wants them safe.

The Arrival Fly-over Celebration is Coming! (Soon, we hope!)
This year's arrival event is at a new place, too: the Dunnellon/Marion County Airport in Florida. The area around the Dunnellon Airport is not built up, and it's close to the Halpata Preserve where the chicks will land. That means guests will get one of the best-ever flyover views as the cranes and planes descend into Halpata. The fly-over site is close enough to the pens that the pilots and migration crew will be able to join the event within minutes of landing. It will be a fabulous chance to see the cranes, planes, pilots and team! Now all we need is the right weather for it to happen.

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: What Florida location—Chassahowitzka ("Chass") or Halpata Preserve—do you predict for the winter home of the the 2005 chicks?

Migration Math: How many birds will migrate to Florida in fall 2006 if all the 2005 chicks survive their first winter in Florida, their first spring migration north, and their first "wild" summer in Wisconsin?

Record Keeping: Have you updated your chart? (At the end of the migration, we'll show you our chart for comparison.)




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

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