Down to Get Ready (+ 0 Miles)
January 15, 2009: Migration Day 80

Peek at the new St. Marks pen through the camouflage covering of the observation blind.
St. Marks NWR: A Second Winter Home (slide show)
Photo Heather Ray, Operation Migration

It's a busy, exciting day — but on the ground. Tomorrow (weather permitting), seven crane-kids will fly with the ultralight for the last time in their lives. After a short flight of 28 air miles, cranes #805, 812, 813, 826, 828, 829, and 830 will be at their new winter home. A fabulous new 3-acre open pen is almost ready, but the 7 youngsters will first go to a pen covered by a top net. Today the team is helping get it ready. Soon Dr. Scott Terrell and his vet team from Disney's Animal Kingdom are coming. These world-class experts will perform health checks when the birds arrive. The cranes will also get the leg bands with the colors that will identify them for the rest of their life. After that happens, the 7 St. Marks birds will be released to their open pen, free to come and go, but safe inside at night as they learn to be wild. Meanwhile, all 14 birds wait at the staging area in Jefferson County, FL. They are clueless about all the excitement and hope they are creating just a few miles away!

Operation Migration has posted a map and directions, inviting everyone to welcome the St. Marks Seven as they arrive. It could be tomorrow!


Congratulations to students at Alexander Middle School in Nekoosa, Wisconsin. By making and selling origami cranes, they donated $701.00 to Operation Migration to help the Whooping Crane Class of 2008!


In the Classroom:

  • Today's Journal Questions:
    (a ) Why do the birds still need a pen for their first winter?
  • (b-for-bonus) What things must the young cranes learn to do now? List your ideas.

Helpful Resources today:
Eastern Cranes on the Florida Wintering Grounds >>
A Second Winter Home: St. Marks NWR >>
Feeling Blue and Crabby: Whooping Crane Winter Diet >>


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