Comparing Ultralight-Led Migrations


Photo: Wayne Kryduba
Hatch Year of birds

2001

2002

2003
2004
2005
Target date for departure

October 13

Oct. 7 and then Oct. 10

October 8
October 9
Oct 10 and then Oct. 14
Actual departure

October 17

October 13

October 16
October 10
Oct. 14
Number of birds at takeoff

8

17

16
14
20
Number of planes

4: lead, chase, & scout ultralights and one top cover

5: four ultralights and one top cover
5: four ultralights and one top cover
 5: four ultralights and one top cover
6
Journey's end

Dec. 3

Nov. 30

Dec. 8
Dec. 12
Dec. 13
Number of birds reaching Florida Winter Pen

7

16

16
13 (see #406)
19 (see #526)
Total days en route

48

49

54
64
61
Number of no-fly days (grounded or turned back)

24

28

34 (includes 4 days when they turned back and made no progress)
43
39
Number of actual flight days (progress made)

24

21

20
21
22
Longest flight

2 hours 9 minutes

2 hours 15 minutes

3 hours 4 minutes (200 miles--covering most of GA. New record!)
2 hours 58 minutes (157 miles covered)
2 hours 14 minutes (116.3 miles)
Shortest flight

38 minutes

44 minutes

41 minutes
  43 minutes
32 minutes
Total Miles South (*after OM's final adjustments)

*1164.2

*1227.8

*1191
1204.4
1183.4
Number of birds surviving winter/returning to Wisconsin

5

16

16 survived but 12 returned to WI
19 survived;
16 returned to Wisconsin
Days on Wintering Grounds
126
121
 117 days *
107 days**
 .

NOTES:
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, all 12 were finally boxed and driven.

For the first time, the young cranes landed at a holding site (Halpata Preserve). HEAR A LIVE PODCAST OF THE ARRIVAL FLYOVER AND WELCOME! They were moved to the main wintering site (Chassahowitzka NWR) on January 11 nd 12 after all the older whooping cranes cleared the site.

 

  • * In 2003, 117 days is the average of two numbers (Group A - 113 days, Group B - 121 days).
  • **In 2004, 107 days is the average of two numbers (11 cranes stayed 104 days and 1 crane stayed 110 days). Chick #418, who was not led by ultralight but left alone to go south with older cranes, stayed 129 days.
  • Read NOTES on previous migrations here: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004


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

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