Days: Everyone Has a Job
By Jennifer Rabuck, 2001 WCEP
NOTE: This report was written before the team added a second
What is a usual flying day like for the flight team?
to make sure all systems are go
- Pilots go to their
aircraft and prepare for flight: checking instruments, untying the trikes
and gathering their clothing layers.
- Bird handlers
gather their costumes,
crane puppets, and vocalizers and head to the pen.
- Out of the
cranes' sight, Outreach Team folks greet any media people or visitors
who have come to see the departure.
- The rest of
the crew packs up the camp and prepares to hit the road. A very
busy day begins! Read more:
The handlers walk out to the pen as the planes taxi or
fly to the pen doors. The contact
call (a pre-recorded
from the ultralight's loudspeaker sounds across
the landscape as the doors to the pen are thrown open.
The cranes emerge in a flurry of white-and- black feathers,
eagerly jumping and flapping their wings. The pilots
rev up their planes
are airborne, followed by this special flock of whooping
cranes. Here we go!
After we get word that the entourage is officially headed to the next stopover,
ground crew members pack up the overnight pen. They disconnect our
and begin the road trip (much longer than the air trip!) to the
after the flight
If the birds arrive at the next site ahead of their pen, the still-costumed
pilots walk the cranes to a secluded area. The birds can relax and
forage and remain out of sight when the ground crew arrives.
Unbeknownst to the cranes, the ground crew scrambles to set things
up and make everything look as wild and natural as possible. When
things are in order, the ground crew retreats
to a new base camp and begins to settle themselves in. The pilots
are then free to walk the birds into their home pen that
has miraculously appeared. Then the pilots
join the human encampment.
Try This! Journal Questions
- Why is it important for the ground crew and their work to be
out of the cranes' sight?
- What things might delay the ground crew from arriving at the new site and getting
the night pen set up?
- What are
some reasons why the ground crew's later arrival could cause the
pilots to be uncomfortable?
(Remember that the pilots fly at high altitudes where it may be very cold,
so they wear extra clothing under their costumes.)
- How could a second pen
be of help during the migration?
North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).