Airborne, Then Trouble (+0 Miles)
October 21, 2011: Migration Day 13

Young Whooping crane flies near the ultralight plane's wing.

Photo: Operation Migration

Flyable weather at last! At 7:47 a.m. all ten birds launched with lead pilot Brooke. But the flight soon turned into a rodeo. Hours of flying and searching ended with no progress in the migration and one missing crane. Nine of the ten are back at the old Stopover #1 in Green County, WI. Eight flew by their own wingpower, and one was crated and driven. Searchers went into high gear with tracking antennae, looking for missing Crane #2. No one picked up a signal, not one beep at all, from #2's transmitter. They searched until dusk both on the ground and in the air.

The final word from Liz at camp: "It looks like we might have flying weather in the morning. If so, there will be another attempt to advance a migration leg tomorrow, but successful or not, the search for #2 will resume after that." There will be troubled dreams in camp tonight.

In the Classroom: Journal or Discussion

  • (a) You recall that six of the birds had to be crated and driven to Stopover #1. While ALL the birds took off with the ultralight plane today, it sounds like crates may be needed again. View this stunning video of the arrival and uncrating of six cranes at Stopover #1. What surprises you the most?

The six crated cranes arrive at Stopover #1.

  • (b-for-bonus) Before migration began, the team prepared for as many mergency possibiities as they could think of. How many can YOU think of? Read a tracking report writtten during a previous migration, and then respond to the questions at the end of the report.

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