Why Did All 16 Stay Together?
Adapted from Joe Duff's Field Journal: Nov. 22, 2009

There is a theory that schools of fish or large flocks of small birds sometime function with one mindset, often referred to as group-mind. You can see them wheel and turn as one unit made of several parts. They are reacting too fast to be taking their cues from each other. It's more like they are all thinking the exact same thing at the exact same time.

Maybe some group-mind is taking place among the Whooping cranes in the Class of 2009. And that may explain why they have all stayed together on one aircraft so many times. (In years past when they have broken up into smaller groups led by two or three ultralights.) It may be that one dissenter has little influence over a flock this large. Perhaps they all feel more secure in the anonymity of a larger group. Possibly the joy of soaring and the confidence of the group was all it took to overcome the insecurity that has always brought them back on "exercise days." Whatever the motivation, 16 of them surprised us and kept going.

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).