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September 22, 2003

Target Date Set
The Ultralights and 16 crane chicks will fly this route.

Mark your calendars! October 8th has been chosen as the target departure date for the 2003 migration! This is the date when all the crew and equipment will be in place, and each of the 38 potential migration hosts will have been checked and notified of the cranes' possible arrival. But Operation Migration pilot and project leader Joe Duff reminds us of the DECIDING factor: "The actual start of migration will be determined by the weather." Joe says, "If we are able to begin on the 8th, it will put us 7 days ahead of last year. The birds have already accomplished flights of over 30 minutes and we are encouraged by their progress and excited by the advantage this may give us." Whoopee!

It was a big Whooper weekend in Wisconsin. Not only did WCEP partners come from far and wide to meet and discuss the schedule, but the tiny town of Necedah held their annual Whooping Crane Festival. Operation Migration and the other WCEP Partners put up displays. Members were there to meet people, answer questions, and explain the sights. The Lions Club offered schoolbus tours of the Refuge, and most folks were lucky enough to see a few yearling Whooping cranes from last year's ultralight flock. Jane and Laura from Journey North were thrilled to see 211 and 212 foraging in a marsh on the refuge. You'll see some photos and video clips in upcoming reports.

Meanwhile, training continues in earnest and the birds are doing great. Some of the whooper juveniles (from 2002) and the subadults (2001) summering in Wisconsin are starting to get restless and wander. The days are shorter, the nights cooler, and the leaves beginning to change colors. Soon it will time for the journey south.

Try This! Journaling Question
  • Through how many states will the ultralights and cranes travel on the migration south? Name them. Have you circled October 8 on your calendar or timeline?
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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