Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

Migration Begins! (+4 Miles)
October 5, 2006: Migration Day 1


Whoopee! Eighteen whooping crane chicks and their ultralight airplane "parents" left today on the chicks' first journey south! The lift off set a record for the earliest departure in the project's six-year history. Pilot Chris took off at 7:42 with all birds following (sort of). Team members on the ground heard Joe's voice over the radio as he exclaimed, "There are birds everywhere!" Before long they lined up along the trike's wing: Gone south!

Only Four Miles?!
They flew four miles, just far enough to get them to unfamiliar territory so they'd pay attention to the trike, and to give the birds a successful first flight. Seventeen birds flew the distance to Stopover 1 in Juneau County, Wisconsin. Chick #613 was the first to land, followed by #614, and then the others. It's a proud entry for their life story pages!

One Drops Out
But where was the 18th bird? The trikes turned back to search. Chick #604 had gone back "home." After several tries and a small mountain of grapes to coax her, she finally flew behind Joe's ultralight plane to join her flock mates at Stopover #1. Migration 2006 is underway!

Video Clip

A Bird
Drops O


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In the Classroom

  • Today's Journal Question: Why did the team plan such a short flight (only 4 miles) for the crane's first day away from the refuge? Give two reasons.
  • Migration History: Now you can start filling in your migration comparison chart! How does this year's departure date compare with past years'? Make some predictions for the other categories on the chart and see what happens. Revise your predictions as new information comes in.
  • Map the Migration: Use our map or make your own with this migration data.

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