Makes a Good Stopover Site for an Ultralight-led Migration?
Migration leader and pilot Joe
shopping list for a stopover site is short but demanding. On migration we need landing sites about every 50 miles. If we have headwinds, landing sites are needed at 30-mile intervals. If we could
custom build them,
stopover sites would be:
- at least
a mile from the sound of traffic.
- out of
sight of buildings or any other human equipage.
- in open country
with an upland feeding area and a lowland roosting spot,
- all beside
a grass runway as smooth as a bowling green, and…
- with a hangar just
over the hill.
biologists have questioned why we are not satisfied
with areas that
are frequented by wild sandhill cranes. But wild cranes have
advantages that our birds do not. The birds we raised are neither tame
Like any creature, they have a natural fear of the unknown, but the rest
is a learned response and our ability to teach them is severely
This! Journal Questions
- In the
first three ultralight-led migrations, the pilots used
stopover sites. They changed the location of the Cumberland County,
TN stopover site in 2004. Why do you think they did this? After you
here for more.
- How do you think
the flight team found good stopover sites?
do you think could happen if wild sandhill cranes were at the
landing sites used on the young whoopers' very first journey south—when
the pilots, like parents, are showing them where to go?
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational
adventure made possible by the Whooping
Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).