Progress Again Today! (+ 58 Miles)
December 30, 2008: Migration Day 64

Yesterday Richard captured this shot of the birds landing in Walker County, Alabama. Today they're out of there, and on to Chilton County, Alabama!
Photo Richard van Heuvelen, Operation Migration

They've come 755 miles, and today they are flying for the second day in a row. Chris Gullikson took off with 10 of the 14 crane-kids while the ground crew was coaxing the last four out of the pen. Then came rodeo 1: It took a few circles to get all the birds up and underway today. Rodeo 2: Viewers watching 2 miles south of the pensite several saw the birds break off Chris's plane as Brooke picked up all but one of the rest. Richard chased down that one and got the bird on his wing. Rodeo 3: Right over the craniacs who came to watch, Richard drop his one bird off to Chris, who then had 7. Brooke was right there with the other seven. Now Richard was left free to fly in the chase position just in case any others broke off or dropped out along the way. They reached Chilton County, Alabama in one hour and 50 minutes of flying. They've gone 813 miles toward the journey's end!

In the Classroom:

  • Today's Journal Questions:
    (a) How many stopovers now remain between here and the staging area (migration gathering area) in Jefferson County, FL? (That is where the team will split the Class of 2008 into two groups of seven birds each — the first split in the project's history. The pilots will lead seven to their new wintering grounds on the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and then return to the Jefferson County staging area. They will depart with the other 7 crane-kids on the next flyable day. This group stops in Florida's Madison and Gilchrist Counties before reaching Marion County and the Arrival Flyover event at the Dunnellon Airport.
  • (b-for-bonus) This morning Liz reported, "The temp is nice and cold at 31 F. . ." Why is this a good thing for the birds during migration? How do you think the pilots feel about the cold temps? For more, see: Why is Cool Air Best? and Brrrrr! It's COLD Up There.

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