No Go: Weather Woes in Illinois (+ 0 Miles )
November 11, 2008: Migration Day 26

Watch #827 Fly (33 seconds). How is he keeping his legs warm?
Video Chris Gullikson, Operation Migration

"The winds on the ground and aloft have ganged up on us," came the word from Liz at Operation Migration, "with the threat of freezing rain." Sunrise in Illinois was at 6:43 this morning, but Chris Gullikson, OM's weather expert, called Migration Day #26 a down day even before sunrise.

Brrr! Yesterday's flight was a cold one. Click here to see how the pilots try to stay warm. Are the birds cold too? "We took off and felt the bone chill, but the birds did it with wings fully extended and I can’t imagine how they didn’t freeze their wing-pits," wrote pilot Joe Duff in his Field Journal. During the flight Chris filmed #827 flying near the wing of the trike. One at a time, the bird folded his cold feet and tucked them into his chest feathers. It reminded the piots of the way planes retracting the landing gear. Watch Chris's YouTube video clip to see the "legless" crane in flight!

In the Classroom

  • Today's Journal Questions:
    (a) The left photo shows how Whooping cranes normally fly. How is it different from #827's flying? Use facts from today's report to explain why you don't see #827's legs.
  • (b-for-bonus) This season the cranes have shown two unusual behaviors to cope when their legs were uncomfortable. What was the other situation that caused cranes to adapt their normal leg positions? (Click here for help if you can't remember from our Sept. 5 report.) How do you suppose the cranes knew what to do in both these situations?

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