No Go. Storms Closing In (+0 Miles)
December 8, 2009: Migration Day 54

What's strange about the way this crane was flying on the Dec. 4 flight? Click the photo to compare this view with how cranes normally fly.
Photo Chris Gullikson, Operation Migration

Disappointment! It's Down Day #3 in Carroll County, Tennessee. The barometer is falling and the radar shows storms closing in. But it's warmer in Tennessee than it was when they left Kentucky. Today let's think about that 111.5-mile flight and the effects of cold temperatures on the cranes. Pilot Brooke describes it:

"...But the birds love the cold air and therefore so do I. Their lungs crave its oxygen-rich exuberance, and their wings love to beat down upon its invisible, thick caress. Their skinny little legs however, are another story. So first one bird, then another, and another, activate the ’Gear Up’ lever and their legs fold up into the warm down of their body." Imagine that!

The next day's flight was cold, too. Pilot Joe wrote: "The higher we climbed the lower the temperature dropped. At 17.4 degrees and a 38-mile-per-hour wind-chill for three hours it’s impossible to stay warm. Each of us has our own tactics, from heated hand grips to hot packs taped to boots, but they only serve to prevent frostbite, and do little for personal comfort."

CraneCam is live each day from about 6:30 to 10:00 a.m. and again from 3:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon. TrikeCam is live during migration flights.

In the Classroom

  • (a) Study the photo in today's report. What's the answer to the question under the photo? (b-for-bonus) Joe wrote of the Dec. 5 flight: "At a maximum speed over the ground of 45 miles per hour we took 2 hours and 56 minutes to cover about 120 miles. In two days we covered 231.5 miles. We flew from Illinois to Tennessee and it raised the spirits of the entire team." The next flight, to hardin County, TN, is about 70 air miles. What might the team think and do on days between flights?

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