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!
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
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!