Over the Border to FLORIDA! (+43 Miles)
January 11, 2010: Migration Day 80

From Georgia to Florida today! Click HERE for the view for the ground crew, courtesy of Heather and her iPhone.
Photo Heather Ray, Operation Migration


We are jumping with joy and excitement! Pilot Joe Duff led the young cranes on their last flight as a group of 20 to the first stopover in Florida: Jefferson County. That's 1085 miles flown. Today's flight time was 1 hour 46 minutes, but the birds weren't tired. In fact, they didn't want to come down! They flew on for about five minutes before they were coaxed down. At this staging area the birds will be led to two different pens in preparation for their new flight paths.

The ten birds headed to a winter home at St. Marks NWR are now one flight away from completing their migration. If you are lucky enough to be near, come for the arrival celebration! Operation Migration has posted this map and directions, and you're invited to welcome the St. Marks Seven as they arrive on the next flyable day. Click the image for details.

The other ten will stay at Jefferson County while their flockmates fly off to St. Marks. On the next flyable day, these ten will take off to complete the 3 remaining legs to their winter home at "Chass" (Florida's Chassahowitzka NWR).

In the last week these marvelous crane-kids have flown more miles than they did in the first 49 days of the migration. AWESOME!



In the Classroom

  • (a)How did you divide the birds in our question from January 7? The criteria are here. The team's preliminary decision for dividing the birds is here. How did your answer compare?
  • (b-for-bonus
    How did this whole project get started? Way back in 1997, Journey North printed a story about an early attempt to use an ultralight with whoopers. Then, in 2000, Operation Migration pilots, who pioneered the technique of using ultralights to lead birds on migration in the hopes of using it to help endangered species, paved the way for the migration you are reading about now. Read both stories (below). Then make a 3-column chart and see how many differences you can find between the migrations of 1997, 2000, and 2009. What important things have experts learned along the way?

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