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October 29, 2003
Day 1

Another 49.2 Miles


Hooray! After a day off, the young whoopers and their mechanical "parents" knocked off some more miles with today's successful flight. They flew for 57 minutes and landed in Boone County, Indiana for a total of 335.7 statute miles (ground distance)--more than a third of the way! All sixteen birds made the flight. They launched with Joe Duff, but after some aerial rodeos and switching, Joe continued with eleven. Brooke Pennypacker picked up four, including #303, and Richard van Heuvelen picked up one. Now on the ground, here's what the birds might be doing.

The other "experienced" Eastern cranes who followed the ultralights in 2001 and 2002 are staying put for now. The first departure last year was 2001 Crane #7, who left Wisconsin November 15. But if you live in the Central Flyway, look up and you just might see wild Whooping cranes; the only natural wild flock, which numbered a record 198 adults and young on August 31, is now migrating between their nesting grounds in Canada's far north and their wintering grounds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf Coast. Tom Stehn (Texas) and Brian Johns (Canada), leaders of the Whooping Crane Recovery Team, report exciting news. Since Tom's October 23rd census on the Aransas Refuge, the Lobstick pair of adults has arrived with TWO chicks! (It's rare for two sibling chicks to survive to fledge, let alone migrate.) Before their arrival, Tom reported: "Five whooping cranes all believed to be subadults were present on the wintering grounds, distributed as two duos and a single. The first 2 whooping cranes arrived on October 18th with a weak cold front that brought clear skies and northeast winds. This was just 2 days after the average Whooping crane first arrival date of October 16. Most of the flock is still in migration, with sightings in the past week reported mostly in North Dakota and Saskatchewan.

Map the Migration
Make your own map using the latest
migration data

Try This! Journaling Question

  • Why don't the cranes and ultralights fly farther on good-weather days? There are good reasons! First write your thoughts in your journal, and then read what Joe Duff says. Will you need to adjust your answer?

Why Such Short Daily Flights? by Joe Duff

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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