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November 15, 2004
Migration Day 37

Best Flight Yet!
Photo OM

Clear skies, calm air and cool temps were the day's first good news. Then, in the best flight yet, fourteen birds burst out of the travel pen as Joe Duff performed a picture-perfect air pick-up at 8:06 a.m. Flashes of white feathers appeared in the spaces between the small pine trees that shrouded the pen from the ground team's view, until the birds gained enough altitude to clear the trees. They formed a long, wide line to the left of the small yellow trike. But as Joe made a wide sweeping turn to the west, some took advantage of the break. They swept across to line up on Joe's other wing and even out the number of flyers on each side. Pilots Brooke Pennypacker and Richard van Heuvelen stayed farther west and north so as not to distract the young cranes. Still, they were close enough so that if needed they could quickly get into place if necessary and pick up any birds that may might turn back toward their pen. All 14 crane-kids stayed this way for 1 hour and 20 minutes! At 9:26 a.m. Richard landed first to provide a visual target for the cranes, while Joe circled downward and safely delivered all 14 cranes to Washington County, Kentucky. Today's flight knocked off 42.2 statute miles, and it was a welcome break to get LUCKY IN KENTUCKY!

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Try This! Journaling Questions
  • OM's Heather Ray says, "When tracking below in our vehicles, we monitor the aircraft radios so that we know if any of the birds are tiring, or just generally how things are going." Picture yourself in a vehicle, driving on freeways or back country roads to the next stopover site. What kinds of things would you be thinking about? What would be important to you?
  • How far have they come so far? Check your migration chart to see if updates are needed.

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the

Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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