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November 12, 2001
Day 27

An Unscheduled Stop in Bledsoe County, TN
Photo OM

Six cranes and three trikes took off from Cumberland County, TN about 7:00 a.m., but one bird almost immediately broke off and returned to the previous site. Deke gave chase and landed with the bird. The wayward crane was crated to join Crane #4 in the tracking vehicle to travel south. Do you suspect Crane #6 again? Nope. It turned out to be Crane #7!
Heather, who is on site with the team, reports: "Joe continued south with the other five cranes, climbing with them so that they would have enough altitude to cross the high ridge immediately to our south. He managed to coerce the birds over this ridge and continued southward o ver the valley that lies between this and a second ridge approximately 25 miles farther south. The air was warm and became trashy the closer they came to the second mountain ridge and the birds began to balk at having to climb higher still to get out of the unstable air and over the next ridge. It was obvious to Joe that he couldn't convince them to continue, so he radioed Bill and they began looking for an alternate landing spot amid the vast areas of forest in the valley below." The ground crew pulled out the map and altered their road course as pilots and cranes landed safely in Bledsoe County, TN at a location about 22 miles south of the last location and 18 miles to the north of the intended stop. Today's flight brought the total distance traveled to 691.4 miles in the 1250-mile journey.


Try This! Journaling Question

  • What problems could arise from having to land at an unscheduled stop?

Map the Migration
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Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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