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What's in the pocket?

Do you see the antenna of a handheld two-way radio in the pocket? Heather Ray, member of the 2008 migration ground crew, explains: "The ground team carries handheld radios, while each aircraft has a similar radio hard-wired into it so that the pilot needs only to push a button. The pilot can talk through the microphone portion of his headset. The headset also has ear pieces so the pilots can hear over the noise of the aircraft and the rushing wind.

"The ground crew attaches a small earpiece (imagine those that come with your ipod, but just one) so we can hear what the pilot is saying. IF the pilots absolutely have to ask a question, the handler will move to an area out of earshot of the birds and respond in a very quiet voice.

"Radio use is kept to an absolute minimum when the birds are near," added Heather. Why do you think this is an important rule?

Photo Tara Urette Hood