Complete Migration (+ 26 Miles)
They're HOME — and what a ride! On his last flight with these magnificent bird, Chris said, "We passed over Manatees that had gathered in the warmer waters of the Homosassa river, and then flew out over the marshes and islands that make up Florida’s west coast." Then the Chass 7 reached their release pen at Chassahowitzka NWR but Heather sent word: "At 10:43 there are 6 on the ground and one very reluctant bird that does NOT want to land. They made it out to the pen at 9:43 but couldn’t convince them to land! They’ve been airborne for two hours now so the pilots may not have enough fuel to fly back to the Dunnellon airport and may have to land at Post Oak instead." Sure enough, this update came at 10:53: "Brian just called to say they’re flying back to Post Oak WITH the bird and they’ll box him for an airboat ride out to the release pen." Whew! Migration finally complete—even for wayward male #804, who arrived on an airboat.
On the ground to call the birds down were costumed Sara, Eva, and Rosemary. Health checks and banding will happen next week. Then a new life as wild, free cranes begins. (They'll have supervision from two experts and the safety of a huge pen from which they can freely come and go until they fly their first unaided journey north.)
amazing Class of 2008 is the eighth group
to be guided by ultralights from central Wisconsin to Florida for
Direct Autumn Release (DAR) chicks also made their first southward
fives and hearty congratulations to the Operation
Migration Team for an outstanding migration,
and to the entire Whooping
Crane Eastern Partnership for a conservation story to celebrate. And
YOU for hanging in there with the cranes and planes for this outstanding
adventure! We'll see you back when the Journey North
North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in
cooperation with the Whooping
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).