Migration Highlights
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2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Fall 2005
Target date for departure
Oct 10 and then Oct. 14
Actual date for departure
Oct. 14
Number of birds at takeoff
Number of birds surviving fall migration
Date migration ends
Dec. 13
Total days of fall migration
62, 63 and 64*

Number of actual flight days (progress made)


Number of no-fly days (grounded or turned back)

Longest flight (distance)
116.3 miles
Total miles flown
Days on Wintering Grounds
106 days 
Number of birds before spring migration
Number of birds surviving spring migration

*For the first time, the young cranes landed at a holding site (Halpata Preserve). They were moved to the main wintering site (Chassahowitzka NWR) on January 10 (7 cranes), 11 (10 cranes) and 12 (1 crane) after all the older whooping cranes cleared the site and wouldn't bother them.


  • They were grounded 8 days by un-flyable weather in Morgan County Indiana. This was the longest stay in one location since ultralight-led migrations began in 2001.

  • Crane #516 was injured on Day 5 during flight. He didn't fly again until Day 20, November 2. This was also the first day that ALL 20 birds flew the distance for the first time on this migration.

  • The death of the youngest chick was a sad loss. Chick #526 was dead in the travel pen on November 10. He had not missed a single leg (flight) of the migration.

  • Thanks to great tailwinds, they were able to skip a stop and head to the next one on Day 39.

  • Twelve birds didn't make the flight on Day 58. Even though it's safter to fly the birds then to truck them, all 12 were finally boxed and driven.