November 24, 2002
Day 43

Together in Georgia — and Another Thrill


Photo Opertion Migration

Why are these young cranes so reluctant to leave Meigs County? Yesterday these 12 earned the nickname "Dirty Dozen" when they refused to stay in formation and leave Miegs County, and it happened again today. After a frustrating morning, only THREE birds ended up following the ultralights to Gordon County, GA, where four flockmates have been since yesterday. All 12 took off, but several returned, despite the efforts of Swamp Monster and many attempts by the pilots to get them to fly. Finally, the team gave up. They boxed up the wayward nine and drove them to Gordon County, Georgia. Now the 16 birds in the HY2002 flock are all together again. They've reached the last state to cross before entering Florida. The day was sunny, calm, and 37 degrees F. These flying three added 67.7 miles, for a total migration distance of 755 miles. But there's more astonishing news to tell!

Today brought another delightful surprise from the birds in last year's historic first ultralight flock. (Be sure to see "Something to Celebrate" in yesterday's report.) Yearling Cranes #1 and #2, now passing throught the Meigs County location, spotted the tiny yellow ultralights when they had six colts flying with them and joined the migration! They flew with the six for nearly three miles while first two, then a third juvenile turned back to the pen. At last the two gleaming white yearlings broke away on their own. It looked as if they wanted to take the remaining three juveniles with them. Luckily, Joe maneuvered his trike between them and picked up the three youngest birds on his wing again. These three flew the 67.7 miles to the first Georgia stop where their four flockmates waited, while the other nine came by road.

Last Fall

This Fall

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    Kelly Macguire, ICF Aviculturalist traveling with the migration

    Think for a moment about the 3 juveniles' willingness to follow the two yearling cranes as they broke away from the trike and continued on course. Then listen to ICF aviculturalist Kelly Macguire tell you about future plans for the next few years as WCEP tries to build up this tiny new Eastern flock. Then answer: What happened today that is a promising sign for the project's plans for the future? Why?

    Kelly's Audio Clip: What's Next?

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