Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

November 11, 2003
Day 27

Standing Down in Unstable Weather

Washington Cty, KY
Photo Heather Ray/OM

The wind is keeping the birds on the ground today. In Washington County, Kentucky, winds at lower altitudes are SSW @ 15 mph, gusting to 20 mph. At the higher altitudes the wind is ENE @ 10 mph, resulting in a low-level wind shear warning. It was an easy decision to stand down. But keep reading for a lovely description of yesterday's take-off by Heather Ray, and then enjoy two fun Journaling Questions!

"It was Brooke's turn to lead, so once the wings were fastened onto our  Cosmos aircraft, and with Richard and Joe circling overhead, Brooke moved into position adjacent the pen and gave Mark the thumbs up, signaling him to release the eager cranes. With one leap, each of the young cranes was airborne. Brooke sped along the small grass strip; requiring a few additional yards before pushing out the control bar that directs the nose of his wing up--allowing it to lift him, too, into the air. It was a gorgeous take-off with the orange morning sun peeking through the broken clouds; at times illuminating the stark cranes; giving them a pinkish hue. They climbed slowly, passing over the outskirts of Louisville, while folks in the houses below were getting ready to leave for their 9-to-5 jobs. Some stood in driveways, gazing skyward, I'm sure startled by what they saw passing over their homes this morning. The air was smooth at 3,000 ft. so they settled in at this altitude for the remainder of the 42 mile flight. 1 hour and 33 minutes later; at 9 a.m. they arrived in Washington County, KY, near Springfield with Brooke guiding fifteen, and Richard with the remaining bird, number 302." (By Heather Ray, OM)

Taking Off--or Landing?
Photo Heather Ray/OM
Try This! Journaling Questions
  • Was yesterday's crane flight higher or lower than the world’s tallest building (Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)? For help, see:

Up, Up and Away: From Skyscrapers to Outer Space

  • Click to enlarge the photo at the right and then look carefully at everything in it. Do you think the cranes are taking off...or landing? What clues helped you decide? After you write your answer, see if you want to edit it by checking what you wrote against our flight lesson section explaining how birds use their outstretched feet as well as their open wings:

    How Birds Fly: Coming Down Safely


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

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