Migration Highlights
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Fall 2006
Target date for departure
October 5, 2006
Actual date for departure
October 5, 2006
Number of birds at takeoff
Number of birds surviving fall migration
Date migration ends
December 19
Total days of fall migration
Short-stopped Day 76 * and completed on Days 77 and 78

Number of actual flight days (progress made)


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

Longest flight (in distance)
Total miles flown
1260.5 final
Days on Wintering Grounds
Number of birds before spring migration
0 survived to migrate due to tragic storm in Florida on February, 2007.

* The migration was short-stopped Dec. 18 in Marion County, FL and completed with flights to Chassahowitzka NWR on Jan. 11 for 9 cranes and Jan. 12 for the remaining 9 cranes.


  • Two extra special chicks made their first migrations this fall: Chick #602 is the first ultralight-led chick hatched from an egg laid by parents in the Eastern Flock. Chick W1-06 is the first wild-born chick in the new flock to make her migration the normal way—with her parents teaching her the route. (The crane family reached Florida on December 9, 2006, indicating that this new migration route can be passed on from generation to generation in the wild.)

  • The October 5 departure was the earliest departure in the project's six-year history.
  • It took 10 weeks and 3 days to reach Florida from Wisconsin. The team covered 1234 miles and logged 32 hours and 44 minutes in the air.
  • For only the second time in the six years of the project, ALL of the birds in the ultralight-led cohort arrived safely in Florida without one injury, illness, or loss among the birds.

  • The migration leg flown on October 24 (from the 4th to the 5th Stopover) was the first day no birds dropped out, turned back, or had to get crated.

  • They flew 3 days in a row and reached Washington County, the final stop in Kentucky, ONE DAY AHEAD of last year's arrival date there. They crossed Kentucky in just 4 days.

  • On Nov. 11 (day 38) they tied their all-time record for the most number of down-days in one place: 8 days, set in 2005 in Morgan County, Indiana. They set a new record for down days when they were in Cumberland County, TN for 9 days before leaving on Day 59.

  • The crane-kids flew exceptionally well; after leaving southern Wisconsin, no birds dropped out and needed to be crated until they tried to cross the Cumberland Ridge. Then one bird (#612) dropped out and had to be crated and driven on that difficult flight.

  • They were able to skip over a stop and go on to the next on only ONE day.

  • Unlike last year, all 4 DAR birds successfully migrated to Florida this year for the first time. They all arrived the same day, Dec. 8.

  • The First Family completed their migration Dec. 9, beating the ultralights and 18 chicks by 10 days! The now-wild adults from the Class of 2002 successfully taught the new flock's migration route to their offspring!

  • After landing Dec. 19 (Day 76) at the temporary layover site, the Class of 2006 (in two groups of 9 each) took their last flight with the ultralight to reach the main wintering site at Chassahowitzka NWR on January 11 and 12.