Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

October 21, 2001
Day 5

Tailwinds at Last!

Whoopers in flight
Operation Migration

Good tailwinds today meant the flight crew covered some ground and made it to stopover #2! In the best day so far, they flew 41 minutes and covered 21.4 miles. Seven birds (number #4 will be crated and trucked to the next stopover) followed the trikes, climbing to 400 ft.---and Deke was able to lead them across the busy interstate highway that made them balk yesterday. They climbed to smooth air at 900 feet and had a tailwind at last. The GPS reading indicated a ground speed of 58mph. THAT'S more like it! Counting the two flight attempts to reach stopover #2, the birds have flown 80.7 miles. The progress made on the migration is now 50.7 miles.

From Operation Migration headquarters, Heather Ray reminds us, "Hunting season has begun. When I was on the phone with Joe yesterday morning, I kept hearing rifles in the distance. They dearly want to get the flock out of there."

Pilot Joe Duff's log said, "The total flight time was only 41 minutes, which in itself, is not cause for celebration but crossing the interstate was. It was an obstacle that held us up for three days and makes you wonder what other inhibitors we have unknowingly placed in the path of wild migratory birds."

As for whooper #4, the crew is trying another plan. They think #4 has a bad influence on #6. Each time Four broke off from the group in flight, Six followed his lead! By trucking #4 to the next stop, the crew hopes to give #6 the chance to experience a successful flight with the aircraft. Four's absence also allows the pilots to see what Six does without Four's bad example.

Try This! Journaling Question

Even though they are members of an endangered species, the new Eastern flock is designated as a Nonessential Experimental Population (NEP) -- "experimental" because it will be isolated from other populations of the same species, and "nonessential" because they will not be esssential to the survival of the entire species. Under this designation, the reintroducEd whooping cranes will not receive full Endangered Species Act protection, which will allow greater management flexibility and also resolve some possible conflicts between people and whooping crane conservation.

  • What possible conflicts can you think of?

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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