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October 27, 2002
Day 15

Yee-haw! Another 47.9 Miles

crane02WCEP_087

Photo OM for WCEP


With help from 3-4 MPH tailwinds, the birds flew 1 hour, 20 minutes farther south into Illinois today. It seems they have switched into migration mode because they were raring to go and eager to fly. Pilot Richard van Heuvelen lifted off with a long line of white cranes strung out like a banner off his left wing. It was a near-perfect take-off--except only 13 birds were behind him. Heather tells what happened: "Two youngsters turned back to the pen right after launching and another lagged behind, still in the pen. Dan managed to encourage the pair back into the air by temporarily disguising himself as the swamp monster, but by the time the pilots realized they did not have all 16 birds with them, it was too late to turn back and attempt to pick them up."

Richard and his 13 birds kept flying, with Joe and Brooke as chase pilots behind. The ground crew hit the road with 3 cranes riding with them. You can imagine how thrilled the caravan was to catch sight of the birds and planes overhead as their paths occasionally crossed.

Today's skies were cloudy and the air a cold 34 degrees F-- but even colder aloft! On October 16 we asked you to journal about why it was colder at high altitudes, which are closer to the sun. Now look back and compare your answer to this: Sunlight, or solar energy, comes through most of the atmosphere without warming it much. Sunlight does warm the ground or water when it hits them, however. The warm ground or water then warms the air next to it. That's why the farther from the ground, the cooler the air usually is.


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Try This! Journaling Question
  • If the cranes must fly 1225 miles to the end of the journey, how many miles to go? If they fly about 47 miles each and every day from now on, what's the soonest date they could reach their winter home?


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

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