Off to Cumberland County! (+56 Miles)
November 16, 2010: Migration Day 38

Photo: Operation Migration

Whoop, whoop! After ten days of waiting it out in Piatt County, IL, the weather conditions finally let them fly! Today the migration got 56 miles shorter as they winged their way to Cumberland County, Illinois. Seven birds flew with Richard and three with Brooke—but not without giving them a real struggle. Listening live on Operation Migration's TrikeCam, you hear some pilot chatter and see winds flapping the costume. We heard Brooke radio to Joe: "They found #2-10 and they're going to walk him back to the pen." Only one more stop remains in Illinois, at 338 miles the longest state on the migration route. Last year they arrived at Cumberland County on Nov. 30, so today we gained miles and smiles!

In the Classroom: Journal or Discussion

(a) It's time to update your charts! How many miles have the young birds flown so far? What kind of day do you think #2-10 had?

Imagine you are on the ground crew. Read Trish's words about the start of the day. Then finish the story. What are you feeling? What are your next actions? Your worries? Your hopes? "We prepare the pen for release. We take down the guy wires so we can open the release panels. We pull the top net back so the chicks won’t get caught on it when they’re coming out of the pen. We take down the electric fence so they won’t trip on it in their rush to take off. The chicks are peeping their welcomes. They know the difference between a potential fly day and a down day because Geoff and I don’t go inside the pen right away. Now we stand and wait. What will the next moment bring? We hear the trike engine start. The chicks hear it too and start hollering for us to let them out of the pen. But we wait. We listen to the radio – still with no idea what the next moment will bring. Even after the pilot lands, we still don’t know what will happen. Will they stay or will they go?"

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