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November 8, 2004
Migration Day 30

More Progress Today

Another good flying day! The cranes and planes took off at 8 a.m. with the second air pick-up for this migration. Helped by winds from the NNE at 8 mph, they flew for an hour and 15 minutes. They knocked off another 47 miles of their journey, for a total of 443.7 miles gone.

It took an additional ten minutes to convince the cranes to land in the very wet fields of Muscatatuck NWR (Jennings, County, IN). Because of the soggy field, the pilots performed the cranes' first air-drop. They swoop in low, just like they're going to land. When the birds near the ground and start to land, the pilots pull up sharply and zoom away. It's like tricking the birds into landing. Can you see why it took 10 minutes to convince the birds to come down?

Today Joe had 13 young cranes and #402 launched with Richard. Today #419 dropped down about 17 miles from departure, and Brooke picked her up. (She's one of the "little girls," remember?) So, it's the THIRD time all 14 cranes have made the entire flight---providing a nice break for the ground crew. Last year on this date, the migration departed this site (Muscatatuck NWR) and crossed into Kentucky.
Tomorrow's weather looks good for leaving Indiana and entering Kentucky, and we're ALL invited to watch. The main gate of the refuge is located east of Interstate 65 (Exit 50A) on Hwy 50. Gates will open at 7:15 a.m. and visitors should continue 4-miles down the main road of the refuge until they see Refuge staff members, who will tell visitors where to park. As always, Mother Nature will have the last word. Dress warmly!

Exciting News of #418 AND the Experienced Ultralcranes!
As of today, 17 of the thirty-five eastern Whooping cranes are still occupying their summer habitats--but thanks to a large cold push coming out of Canada, 18 of the previous years' ultracranes departed their summer areas! All but three left yesterday. To our immense joy and relief, they included this year's little "unfit-feathers misfit," #418! This young male decided to travel yesterday with yearling #307. The two landed to roost in west-central Indiana. Unfortunately, last year's crane #307 flew about 60-miles farther than novice #418. We will have to wait to see what happens with the youngster who was left behind because of feather problems when the utralights and his flockmates took off from Necedah. Cross your fingers that #418 is well on his way and keeps heading south. How will he find his way, unless he hooks up with an older ultracrane who already knows the route?

More exciting news: The four hatch year 2003 cranes that stayed in Michigan instead of returning to Necedah this summer also began their first unaided southward migration. Cranes #301, 305, 309 and 318 moved south into Ohio late yesterday. They appear to be retracing their spring path, when they became stymied by getting around Lake Michigan and back to Wisconsin.

Last Fall

This Fall

Map the Migration
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Try This! Journaling Question
  • This morning's temp at take off was a chilly 32 degrees. Can you imagine how cold it was for the pilots aloft? Why is it colder at high altitudes, which are closer to the sun?
  • What do you predict will happen to #418? What do you predict will happen with the HY03 cranes who are migrating from Michigan back to Florida? Make a note in your journal today and follow it up with news as we report it.


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

Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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