Waiting for Better Conditions (+0 Miles)
November 3, 2010: Migration Day 25

Photo: Operation Migration. Art: Class of 2010!

It looked good on the ground: cold and calm. But what about aloft? Up went three test trikes at sunrise so the pilots could see for themselves. They were airborne (without birds) to the next destination when they realized the verdict: It would take more than 2-1/2 hours to go almost 60 miles to stop #7. The young cranes need better flying conditions to go that far, so today is out. Maybe they'll make some more pumpkin art. Today's photo is crane-created! It took the young birds 12 hours. (Also see today's bonus question for a scary story about the Halloween-day flight.)

In the Classroom: Journal or Discussion

  • (a) Why do the pilots use the term "test trike"? And how do you think the crane-kids made the pumpkin art in today's photo?
  • (b-for-bonus) Here's a scary story by pilot Joe Duff about a scare he got on the Oct. 31 flight: "We started a slow descent about five miles out and only made one circle to come down. At one point, the birds were off to the right and slightly above. I turned up the volume on the vocalizer and watched as they moved back in. One came in too fast and at the last minute pulled up to go over the wing just as turbulences pushed up the wing. The bird's chest hit the wingtip and I saw a feather fly as he skimmed over the top. I turned my head quickly expecting to see him falling but he simply tucked up behind the left wing and continued down. It felt like a killing blow to me, but he must have hit the wing's soft fabric and avoided the hard tubes. Once on the ground we checked all birds but couldn’t find a mark on any of them. We spent the afternoon watching for signs of aggression in the pen, but everything was calm." What do you think signs of aggression would have indicated?

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