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Comparing Ultralight-Led Migrations

2001

2002

2003
Target date for departure

October 13

Oct. 7 and then Oct. 10

October 8
Actual departure

October 17

October 13

October 16
Number of birds at takeoff

8

17

16
Number of planes

4: lead, chase, scout, top cover

5: four ultralights and one top cover
5: four ultralights and one top cover
Journey's end

December 3

November 30

December 8
Number of birds reaching Florida

7

16

16
Total days en route

48

49

54
Number of no-fly days (grounded or turned back)

24

28

34 (includes 4 days when they turned back and made no progress)
Number of actual flight days (progress made)

24

21

20
Longest flight

2 hours 9 minutes

2 hours 15 minutes

3 hours 4 minutes
Shortest flight

38 minutes

44 minutes

 
Total Miles South

1217.8

1202.8

1191
Number of birds surviving spring migration

5

16

16
Days on Wintering Grounds
126
121
 117 days*

* 117 days is the average of two numbers (Group A - 113 days, Group B - 121 days.)

 

Click here for the daily migration reports.

NOTES:
Only 9 of the 15 birds flew the entire leg on day 1. On October 17 crane #303 was reunited with her flock after recovering from surgery on a leg and flew again on Oct 26, Day 11. The new Eastern flock of Whooping cranes is now up to 36 birds. It took them two tries to cross Walden Ridge. They reached the halfway point at Tennessee's Hiwassee Refuge on day 37, Nov. 18. The longest stretch of bad weather was in Morgan County, Indiana. One of their wild migratory crane cousins from the Aransas/Wood Buffalo flock was shot by a Texas poacher before making it to the wintering grounds.

 

(Read Notes on previous migrations: 2001, 2002.)

 


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

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