Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

October 24, 2004
Migration Day 15

Eleven Fly to LaSalle County, Illinois
Brooke & birds take off.
Joe and Brooke head on course with only eight young cranes. Richard van Heuvelen landed at the LaSalle County site about 50 minutes before Joe and Brooke.
Photos OM

More progress! Eleven cranes made the flight in three groups. Richard arrived first with five; Joe next with four, and Brooke last with two. What about the other three? Here's what happened:

Crane Wrangling and Tracking
Brooke launched with the cranes at 7:14. For the next 30 minutes the ground team watched some crane wrangling. Brooke zig-zagged north, south, east and west overhead. Finally, Richard managed to convince five birds to follow him and disappeared into the brightening sky. For the next 20 minutes Brooke and Joe fought to keep the other birds with them. First Brooke had seven and Joe had two. Then some of Brooke's birds broke and veered to join Joe. Now Joe had four. Next, another of Brooke's birds broke off and landed about 10 miles south of the departure site. Trackers (in costume) went into action. Dan and Tatiana jumped in a vehicle to track one crane, while Mark and Vicky used another vehicle to track a second stubborn crane.

By the time Joe and Brooke finally managed to get their cranes in a row, Richard had already landed in LaSalle County with his original five. Meanwhie on the ground, Heather could hear the radio talk. She heard Brooke radio to Richard that he was still 31 miles out and had only two birds. Next, Joe radioed he had four birds and was 25 miles from target. Wait! 5 + 2 + 4 = 11. Oops! 3 cranes were missing, not two! Heather radioed Brooke--the only pilot that could still hear her. She asked him to find out from Richard and Joe which birds they had. Richard had 403, 406, 412, 416 and 417. Joe couldn't identify his cranes because he hadn't landed yet. Brooke had 408 and 405.  Finally Joe landed and confirmed he had 401, 402, 407 and 415. Can you figure out which three cranes had to be caught, crated, and driven to the LaSalle County stopover site?

One Year Ago (2003)

This Fall

Map the Migration
Make your own map using the latest migration data

Try This! Journaling Questions
  • With the addition of today's 62.4  miles, what's the total distance traveled in the 15 days?
  • Why can't the pilots identify which birds are flying with them until they land?
  • Did you identify which cranes were rounded up on the ground and crated to finish today's trip? As the team suspected, it was 419 and 420, the two youngest birds in the flock, and the usual trouble maker, #414. (This is a good note for your migration chart.) Flight Durations:  1:20 / 1:50 / 2:06

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the

Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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