More Miles Today! (+58 Miles)
December 3, 2010: Migration Day 55

Photo: Richard van Heuvelen
Why do you think the cranes can't climb as fast as the ultralight planes?

Subtract another 58 miles of the journey south! Off they went to Chilton County, Alabama, but not without some drama. It took a few takeoffs and landings! Joe tells the story shortly after finally landing in Chilton County, Alabama: "Once, one of the birds was acting strangely by shaking his head in flight, pulling his neck up, and tumbling. The birds seemed confused today and reluctant to go. It seemed they'd rather just hang around and it took them a little while to realize they were going again! The air finally got smoother at 2000 feet. We thought about skipping a stop again today, but it would have meant a total of 3 hours and 30 minutes: too long." (See Migration History, below, to learn when they reached this stop the past two years.)

In other great news, ICF tracker Eva took a tracking flight yesterday and emailed us: "I found #19-10 today! He is with adult pair #211 and #30-08 in Vermillion County, Indiana. Hooray! Now all the 2010 DAR birds are for sure known to be with adults." Why is this such terrific news? (Click his bio page to find out.)

In the Classroom: Journal or Discussion

(a) Joe's cell phone rang when he was talking on the TrikeCam microphone a few minutes after landing with the birds. The birds had been walked a distance away. Joe's ring tone is birdsong. Why do you think Joe customized his ring tone to sound like birdsong?

Have you updated your chart of miles flown? How far have they come? How many stopovers now remain in the total journey south? See the Data link under today's map for a list of all remaining stopovers!

(b-for-bonus) Today they flew at 2,000-3,000 feet altitude, but yesterday Richard and the cranes climbed to 4,000 feet. Is this higher than the world's tallest human-made structure? Is it a mile high? See our altitude comparison chart for some fun facts. What might determine the altitude at which the trikes and birds fly on a particular day?

Migration History: They did not reach this Chilton County location until January 5 in 2009 and December 30 in 2008.


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