Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

October 20, 2001
Day 4

Interstate Stops Cranes

Courtesy Operation Migration

The cranes and planes got off to a good start, flying beautifully as one unit until it came time to cross Interstate Highway 90/94. They were flying at a lower altitude in hopes of avoiding headwinds, but this proved too close to the large, noisy trucks on the freeway. Pilot Joe wrote in the logbook, "It creates a drone that can be heard for five miles, but from 300 feet above, the roar of the passing trucks was too much for our inexperienced birds and they immediately exploded upwards and scattered in every direction. They regrouped quickly and were very willing to follow either aircraft as long as it did not attempt cross that noisy river of perceived danger." Headwinds made flying at a higheraltitude out of the question. After several attempts they turned back, where the ground crew still had the pen in place. They'll try again tomorrow. The birds have learned to fly in good formation, but today's message seemed to be: "My way, NOT the highway." They flew only 12 miles, and they're still at their original stopover in Adams County.

Try This! Journaling Questions

  • A strict protocol (set of rules) has strictly guided the cranes' training. The birds have been shielded from human sights or sounds. Why is shielding them from human influences such an important part of their training?
  • What are some other human influences they may encounter, and what challenges could these cause on the migration?

Map the Migration

You can make your own map using the latest migration data

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

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