Two extra special chicks made their first migrations this fall: Chick #602 is the first chick hatched from an egg laid by parents in the Eastern Flock. Chick W1-06 is the first wild-hatched chick. She made her migration the normal way—with her parents to teach her the route.
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.
only the second time in the six
years of the project, ALL of the birds
in the ultralight-led cohort arrived safely in Florida.
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. But 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!
After landing Dec. 19 at the temporary layover site, they took their last flight with the ultralight to reach the main wintering site (Chassahowitzka NWR) on January 11 and 12.
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