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November 10, 2001
Day 25

Searching for Crane #6
The crew was grounded today in Cumberland County, TN while carrying out an air and ground search for Crane #6. This bird dropped out of yesterday's flight in the hills of Kentucky. (See updated report for November 9.) The search was called off late yesterday because Crane #4 was still inside the tracking vehicle and the team wanted to release him with his flockmates as soon as possible. Paula Lounsbury's Cessna was in the air with a mounted tracking antenna, and many others took part on the tracking and retrieval team. Finally, the good news everyone was hoping for arrived. The homeowner of the last stopover site in Adair County, KY looked out her window late this morning and saw Crane #6 standing on the grass airstrip! She called the team, which was already enroute to begin tracking near her home. But Heather reports, "By the time Dan and Sarah had arrived at the previous location to capture #6, it had already flown away. They were receiving radio signals from about 5 miles south of the location so they set out in this direction. The signal strength increased as they crested a tall ridge and with a river below them they thought the bird might be near the river. Once close to the river, they began broadcasting the vocalizer in the hopes of getting the crane to respond, which is exactly what happened. However, they were in a wooded area and when they saw #6 flying overhead they knew there wasn't a suitable landing spot for him. Dan sprinted to the nearest clearing at the top of a hill, all the while broadcasting the crane call and as soon as he reached the small clearing the wayward crane landed beside him, crying a mournful peep. I think after a night of solitude with nothing familiar, he was quite relieved to both hear the call and see the costumed handler come to the rescue. Dan was his knight in muddy-white armour."

Try This! Journaling Questions
  • What do you speculate would happen if the team had not been able to locate Crane #6 today? Why?

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