October 1, 2003

Things Take Time
 Spending time with the chicks. Two curious white yearlings watch! Photo Heather Ray, WCEP

The 2003 whoopers are ahead of last year's flock by a good two weeks, and the migration will likely take almost two months to complete. So why don't they just leave right now? The main reason is that each team members needs one more visit back home with family before the long migration begins. They've already spent all summer in Wisconsin, away from their loved ones. Now, when they are not working with the birds, they are trying to prepare for all the things that could happen on the migration. When all of the equipment and people are back in place, it will be time to leave. As pilot Joe Duff remind us, "If luck and the weather are on our side, that will be October 8."

With its unpredictable storms and early morning fogs and frosts, autumn often brings poor flying weather. The birds and ultralights have already been grounded for many recent days due to winds and/ or rain, so the advantage of their early readiness might be wearing away. Once migration begins, any weather delays will add pressure to the already overworked team, not to mention eating up the funds. So keep your fingers crossed for good weather!

Migration Math: Work It!
• It costs Operation Migration \$366,278.13 to raise, train and deliver this year's flock of Whooping cranes south. What is the cost per mile for the approximately 1200 miles between the Wisconsin training grounds and the Florida wintering grounds?
• If Operation Migration contributions so far add up to two-thirds of the total needed, how much money is still needed to cover the migration?
• A 50-lb. bag of crane chow costs \$15.00. How many of you would it take to buy a bag if you each gave \$1.50?
• It takes \$32.00 to buy 5,000 mealworms for Robo-crane to dispense. How much would each person in your class need to give if your class wanted to buy 5,000 mealworms?
• It takes about \$20.00 to fill the fuel tank of one ultralight, which brings about 3 hours of flight time. What's the gas cost for each hour of flying time?
• No amount is too small. Your contributions, tiny or big, can help continue this historical journey for the survival of the Whooping crane. Visit Operation Migration's page to find out how you can contribute!