No Go: Trashy Air Aloft (+0 Miles)
November 21, 2011: Migration Day 44

Kindergartners at Barrett Elementary hear guest speaker from Patuxent WRC as they study Whooping cranes.

Ken Lavish from Patuxent Research Refuge recently visited Barrett Elementary's Discovery Lab to share knowledge about Whooping cranes. Here a student helps him show a whooper's wingspan. Much more: see Classrooms in Action, Barrett Elementary. Image: Laurie Sullivan

The team was pumped for another move after yesterday's long-awaited flight to Piatt County, Illinois. All three trikes took off for a test flight but found trashy (rough) air aloft. Safety comes first, so today they're down due to that wind. A few days ago pilot Joe Duff wrote this about wind: "Given enough time, the wind can erode mountains and turn rock into sand. For the Operation Migration team, the wind causes a windburn that is "the worry that doubles each day that the birds can’t fly, and the concern that they may not follow us when it finally subsides. It is the growing aggression in the pen as the distraction of pumpkins can no long substitute for their desire to fly. . .the mounting cost of a crew that sits idle, and the nagging recognition that there is nothing we can do about it." The wind gave them a break yesterday, and we hope they fly again tomorrow. Meanwhile, today's photo is a welcome reminder of how many teachers inspire us while we all wait.

In the Classroom: Journal or Discussion

(a) How many miles have they now gone? (See Data page.) How did your favorite bird do on yesterday's flight? Bio pages are updated so you can check. (Scroll to the end of the page.)
(b-for-bonus) Read what Joe wrote about yesterday's flight and find at least two things that worried Joe. What did he do to keep himself and #7 flying safely? "I climbed with #7 to over 2000 feet to keep him as far from the wind turbines as possible to lessen any reluctance he might have. The ceiling above us was dark and made up of multiple layers of undefined clouds. I began an immediate descent when the visibility dropped to minimums, but we were clear in seconds only. I found an altitude around 1800 feet where the air was reasonably smooth and the tailwind brought our ground speed up to 55."

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