Wind, Wind, and More Wind (+0 Miles)
November 4, 2010: Migration Day 26

Photo: Operation Migration
This photo is not from today, but from the 2008 migration. What do you see on the ground that shows WIND is a big player in this landscape?

Liz sends today's no-fly verdict from the camp: "The nice cold temperature and the wind direction are positives. The wind strength is the party pooper: 10 mph on the ground and 30-35 mph aloft." Today will be down-day #3 in Livingston County, IL for the Eastern flock's Class of 2010. Increasing winds are forecast all morning. But keep reading!

Extraordinary Comeback for the Western Flock
Meanwhile, thrilling news comes from the central flyway: Record numbers of wild Whooping cranes will complete migration to Texas over the next few weeks! As many as 290 cranes are expected from their nesting grounds in Canada. This extraordinary comeback is just two years after the deadliest winter on record for this critically endangered species. How did they do it? The cranes had plenty of water in Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park, where they breed. Luckily, the Texas drought has ended. The cranes should find what they need for survival on the wintering grounds at Aransas NWR. “If you want Whooping cranes to do well, just add water,” said Tom Stehn, Whooping crane coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Go cranes!

In the Classroom: Journal or Discussion

  • (a) Whooping cranes are endangered, and the Eastern flock was started in 2001 to help add more whoopers to the world. Some make their first migration from Wisconsin to Florida with ultralight planes leading the way. But other youngsters will migrate with their parents and still others with older wild cranes who already know the way. Meet the Flock: Class of 2010 shows you these three groups. Take a look, then fill in the blanks: This fall, ___ young cranes in this flock will make their first migration with an ultralight plane leading the way; ___ will learn the route by following older whooper and sandhill cranes; _____ wild-hatched chicks will follow their own mom and dad.
  • (b-for-bonus): This year the pilots noticed an increase of wind turbines here. Pilot Brooke compared them to pinwheel armies that seemed to march across the landscape, reminding us that they too are farmers. They harvest the wind for kilowatts of electricity that give us light and heat and energy in a way that's natural, renewable and pollution-free. "Still, I’d feel a lot more comfortable about them if they were painted John Deere Green." Why do you think Brooke wishes the tall turbines were painted John Deere Green?

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