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November 28, 2002
Day 47

Chassahowitzka, Here They Come-- 82.5 Miles to Go!

crane02WCEP_148

Amost home! Photo OM, WCEP

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
Crystal River, FL

On the fifth consecutive day of exhilarating progress, the cranes and crew are so close they can taste it---not just Thanksgiving dinner, but the victory of completing this historic migration! It was another banner day, with 60.5 miles gained and all 16 cranes flying. They left Hamilton County, FL in clear skies at 7:10 a.m. and arrived in Gilchrist County at 8:38. Heather was thrilled to report: "Three times the flight team and cranes flew directly overhead as I drove to the next location." Can you picture it? (One tense day during this migration, Heather was stopped by a highway patrol for driving a bit too fast. Luckily, the cranes and little yellow trikes flew overhead just as she was explaining her speed to the officer. If he hadn't seen the birds with his own eyes, he may not have believed Heather's explanation.) The young birds have come a total of 1121.5 miles, with the finish line just 82.5 miles away.

Celebration Coming
The team and all the other WCEP partners are gearing up to share the celebration with the public. A flyover (cranes and ultralights) will take place at the north field of the Crystal River Mall on US Hwy 19 during the final flight of the long journey. The earliest day this would happen is Saturday, Nov. 30th. Speakers will talk about the reintroduction and future plans. The pilots and ground crew will join the event after delivering the cranes out to the release pen at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. This is a long holiday weekend for schools, but if you are reading this during the break, details will appear on the OM Web site. Heather will give a heads up after checking the weather forecast the night before the flight. Get ready to whoop and holler. They're almost home!

Last Fall

This Fall

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Try This! Journaling Questions
  • Last year's first ultralight-led migration officially finished on Day 48, although they didn't make the last few miles to their remote island site until a few days later. Where were they on Nov. 28 last year? Where were they on Day 47? Remember to keep up your Comparing Migrations chart with all the special things that are happening!
  • As they near the final destination, the team makes a more exact calculation of the distance remaining. According to today's estimate (1204 miles total), what fraction or percent of the trip have the birds completed in the last five days of flying?

    Nov. 28 60.5 miles
    Nov. 27 100 miles
    Nov. 26 98.8 miles
    Nov. 25 107.2 miles
    Nov. 24 67.7 miles

  • Look at the Refuge map on this page (click to enlarge). What do you notice about the geography of Chassahowitzka NWR that makes it a good place for Whooping Cranes?

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

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