Down in Wind (+
December 11, 2008: Migration Day 56
Study: Find the cranes in the lead and third positions. What
do you notice about their beaks? What
are two possible explanations? On a day when the birds had
to do a lot of flapping to gain altitude, which reason do you
think is most likely?
Photo Operation Migration
Arrival in Alabama will have to wait one more day. The powerful north
winds are rocking the RV's on the ground, and racing aloft
at more than 40 miles per hour. But tomorrow's forecast
looks promising for a flight!
the first time this year, the cranes and planes will not need to
cross the biggest obstacle of the migration path: the mountains
of Tennessee. Last year, after 11 down-days of waiting and two
tries to cross the mountains, the team took a break on Dec. 18.
Some went home for the holidays.
Finally, Dec. 29, brought the right weather and they conquered
Walden Ridge. You can guess why they call it "The Beast." This
year the route will
go through Alabama instead. No mountains! Open,
flat areas with fewer trees are safer for cranes and planes.
Alabamians are excited to have four
cranes and planes for the first time. Will it be tomorrow?
full power the ultralights can climb
in altitude at 750 to 1,000 feet per
minute (fpm). The birds can climb at
about 100 fpm. Last year they had to
get to 3,000 feet to cross "The Beast."
How many minutes of flying would it
take the cranes to get to this altitude?
do you think the young cranes can't
climb as fast as the ultralight planes? Write
your thoughts. Then compare them
Duff's words. Did Joe mention
any reasons you didn't think of?
may wish to edit your answer.)
December 11, 2007, the six off-course direct autumn release
(DAR) crane-kids were captured
and moved to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee. Richard and
Eva made the capture and 7-hour drive to Hiwassee, where thousands
of Sandhill cranes and nine other older Whooping cranes were
on a migration "rest stop." Did those 2007 DAR chicks make it
to Florida after all? Find out on their bio pages; click on
"The Chicks" in the navigation bar at the bottom of this page.
Then scroll to the very bottom of that page and click on "2007"
to find the Class of 2007 photos and bio pages. Scroll
down to the Group 2 (the DAR chicks) and
click on their photos
for their stories.
North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in
cooperation with the Whooping
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).