Down, Down, Down (+0 Miles)
December 10, 2007: Migration Day 59

A close look at the leg band with radio transmitter and antenna
Photo Operation Migration

On migration Day 59 in 2006—a year ago—the cranes made it over the ridge to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge. Not so this year. Yes, it's day 4 on the ground in Cumberland County, Tennessee. Before the sun was up the temperature was already 57 degrees, and the winds on the ground and aloft are strong out of the south. Rain is coming, and the weather pattern may stay through the week.

In the first 3 years of leading the cranes south with ultralights, the Cumberland County stopover was at the base of Walden Ridge. You already know that this high ridge in the Appalachian Mountains gives the planes and cranes so much trouble that they call it "The Beast." In 2004 the pen site was moved to a place 12 miles to the north of The Beast. Think about that as you answer today's questions:


In the Classroom

  • Today's Journal Question: (a) With full power the ultralights can climb in altitude at 750 to 1,000 feet per minute (fpm). The birds can climb at about 100 fpm. Why do you think the young cranes can't climb as fast the ultralight planes?
    (b-for-bonus) Why do you think the pen site was moved from the base of Walden Ridge to 12 miles away to the north?


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