Migration 2007 Complete! (+26.2 Miles)
January 28, 2008: Migration Day 97

Beautiful! Richard landed with 15 of the 16 birds. Brooke had the other one. Crane #703, who sustained a bit of an injury in the pen a few days ago, didn't fly with his classmates this morning.
Photo Mark Chenoweth

Today is the day! With Richard in the lead, the final leg of the 2007 migration is done! Today's flight from the Halpata-Tastanaki Preserve to Chassahowitzka NWR took just 1 hour and 6 minutes to complete. The flight to the pen was only 42 minutes and the rest of the time was spent trying to get the birds to land! The crane-kids must have sensed that this was their last time with the ultralights, because they were reluctant to leave them. After circling over the pen for awhile, they finally landed at their new winter home. The last holdout was #710, who took a little more coaxing. Sara Zimorski ICF Aviculturist and Megan Kennedy were on the ground playing recorded crane calls over a loudspeaker to tempt the birds to land. Folks along the route craned their eyes to see these magnificent young cranes' last flight with the dedicated pilots and tiny ultralight planes that led them on this journey of 1262.1 miles.

These 17 amazing young whoopers are the seventh group to be guided by ultralights from central Wisconsin to Florida for the winter. Seven DAR chicks also made their first southward migration, and these are currently at several locations in Tennessee. When the "Class of 2007" birds make their spring migration in a few months, there will be 76 migrating Whooping Cranes in the wild in eastern North America! High fives and hearty congratulations to the Operation Migration Team for an outstanding migration, and to the entire Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership for a conservation story to celebrate. And we congratulate YOU for hanging in there with the cranes and planes for this outstanding adventure!

I'll update today's report within 24 hours and then sign off until our first Whooping Crane report of the spring 2008 season, posting on February 29. Until then, over and out!


In the Classroom
Journal Question:
Biologists do not think the long, drawn-out migration and late arrival will affect the birds' spring migration. What do you think? Will they know when to leave? Will they find their way back home to the summer nesting grounds in Wisconsin? How long will it take them? Make your predictions in your journal. Then join us for reports of the young cranes' first journey north — all by themselves!

Migration History: This is a migration for the record books! You will have a grand time tracking down the final stats on your Comparing Migrations Chart. We'll post ours for your comparison as soon as final stats are known. Please check back!



Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure presented in cooperation with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).