Go: Pinned by Wind (+0 Miles)
October 17, 2011: Migration Day 9
|Photo: Operation Migration
winds pin them down for the 6th day at Stopover
#1 in Green Lake County, Wisconsin. It's
not only windy, but also sunny.
That means lots of thermals. Today
those rising columns of warm air are moving fast to the east.
wild, it would be a good migration day for birds like Whooping
cranes that have
to ride those thermals and get the free lift.
They could rise effortlessly without much flapping, get pushed
along by the strong winds, and cover great distances — as
long as they wanted to go east. But the captive-born crane-kids
have never been exposed to thermals to discover their benefits.
Until they learn the route south from their parents (the
ultralight planes), the only flight advantage they will have
is the "wake" created by the
"Under normal circumstances we would release the birds for a
little exercise every third or fourth down-day, but even
for that, it is too
windy," explains pilot Joe Duff. "For them, riding the air currents
is instinctive. If we released them today, and they discovered
the rising thermals on their own, they might end up a hundred miles
away — probably
in the wrong direction. On top of that, they are only five miles
from their summer home and if we gave them the opportunity, they
just might head back. So as much as we would like to see them flying
free, they are stuck in the pen at least for another day."
the Classroom: Journal or
Joe wrote: "When we checked on them this
morning, you could tell they were anxious
activity. They normally
greet us "costumes" at the gate and then
go about their business, but on days like
they follow us around while we tend
to the water and feed." Look at the photo above
and tell how you think the team tries to
keep the young cranes from getting bored.
- (b-for-bonus) Dig
North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in
cooperation with the Whooping
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).