Whooping Crane Whooping Crane

Today's News

Fall's Journey South

Report Your Sightings

How to Use Journey North

Search Journey North

November 13, 2001
Day 28

Up, Up, and Over the Ridge!

The pilot pushes these buttons to play crane recordings from the ultralight.


Whew! The cranes conquered their toughest challenge today. Leaving Bledsoe County, TN and yesterday's unscheduled stopover site, six cranes lifted off, trying to get over the high ridge that stopped them yesterday. With much high circling and expert piloting, five birds made it over the 2800-foot ridge. Their ground speed climbing over the ridge was a very slow 21 mph. Crane # 5 turned back, and scout pilot Bill Lishman led the crane back to its pen in Bledsoe County. Together with Crane #4, Crane #5 was crated and driven to Stop #13 in Meigs County, TN. They flew 1 hour and 20 minutes today, covering 17 miles. The temperature was 34 degrees F with sun and slight headwinds. To stay warm in the air, the pilots wore snowmobile suits, hats, gloves, scarves, vests under their white costumes. But by the time the cranes were safely in the pen and the pilots could peel off the layers, the temp had reached 60 degrees. Today EVERYONE will be glad for a rest.

Do the cranes huddle in their pen at night and agree that a different crane each day should take off while flying? Heather thinks that's what happens! She calls it the crane conspiracy.

In our November 10 Highlight, Heather described the rescue of Crane #6 after its 24-hour disappearance in the hilly terrain. Crane vocalizations played an important part in the rescue, as they have throughout the cranes' training and the migration itself.
Whose idea was it to use "crane-glish" (the cranes' own language), and how did it happen? Read about the contribution of Germany's Dr. Bernhard Wessling to this migration experiment by clicking on this link:


Audio Clip
Meet Dr. Bernhard Wessling.
.wav format, 465 K
.aif format, 465 K)

Try This! Journaling Question

  • Before leaving Bledsoe County, TN, the cranes had flown 691.4 miles. Add today's flight distance to see how far they've now come. How far to go on the 1250-mile journey?
  • You already know how risky it is to put leg bands on these rare and endangered birds. Why do you think the young cranes in this migration have not yet had their voices recorded for voiceprints? (Hint: What happens to voices when individuals go from "babyhood" to adulthood?)

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

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

Copyright 2001 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to
our feedback form