Archive for NEWS, prophecy, dreams, ZionsCRY, Bible, teaching, visions
  Forum Index -> Misc

Whooping Cranes Operation Migration

Crane #7  Aug. 24, 2013

Operation Migration Whooping Cranes 2013
Whooping Crane Chicks, Wisconsin

If you get bored, watch Whooping Crane chix
Each morning at 6 am central time the trike (flying contraption) arrives and tries to get the 8 chicks to fly BEHIND it.
In October they will follow this trike from Wisconsin to Florida - hopefully.
Yes they have videos!

LIVE cam and chat

Whooping Crane video
Sneaky white bird - Aug 7, 2013 OM pilot Brooke was trying to get a juvenile crane into its enclosure, when an adult Whooping crane was sneaking into the crane pen.   Laughing

Whooping crane chick flight training video Aug. 16, 2013
This was the longest flight these chix have made - about a 10 minute flight.
6 of the 8 followed.  There was some concern about chick #4 after it grazed its leg on the trike wing, but it was fine.

Whooping crane field journal

Whooping Crane survivability chances, mortality


This thread follows the OM crane chicks beginning in 2013

              Posted   <*)))><   by  

ZionsCRY NEWS with Prophetic Commentary


Sad  With the loss of 1, 3, 5 and 8 - and now 2 and 7
Now there are only 2 left of 8 in the class of 2013 - #4 and 9, both males.

Whooping crane 2013 chicks personalities
Whooping crane Class of 2013 as I know them
August 14, 2013  Geoff Tarbox, one of the volunteers

Chick 1  FEMALE  -  WHITE band *  died spring 2014
The longest running alpha female of the group, a title she won by being a certain five-letter word that starts with B. She is nothing short of dominant, aggressive even, as I’ve seen her get pretty nasty to any chicks that get in her way, and that’s what makes her so much fun to me.  She’s not afraid to give even the two adult cranes (the yearlings from last years OM) that stop by the business if they get too close.

Chick 2  FEMALE  black band   
Every cohort has a space cadet and 2 is it. I think she wins the prize for being the ‘worst following bird’. She could not care less about what the costume (person in the white gown) is doing. Brooke has told me stories it took him over an hour to lead her out to the aircraft; even with smelt and grapes. However, once she sees the trike, she usually changes her tune and follows it like she’s stuck to it with glue. Unfortunately, recently, there have been a few moments where she was off in her own world. Sometimes she was the last bird to come out of the pen - and the last one back in the pen when training is over.

Sad  January 2015
#2 and #7 from 2013 killed by predator

Chick 3  MALE -  RED band *  died spring 2014
I consider him somewhat impressionable. Brooke recalls him being an attentive follower to the costume and the trike. However, in the first few weeks there were a couple times where he didn’t show much interest in the trike. Rather than come out for training, he’d stay in the pen and hang out by the feeder. 3 is normally a good training bird. He sometimes lays down on the runway, during a training session.  Laughing

#4 and 5-13 MALES - #4 blue and #5 has a YELLOW band
They are the blue and yellow fellows  Smile
Those two seem to be cut from the same cloth. Both cranes are attentive to the costume and to the trike and stay with them every step of the way. They’re the first birds to come out of the pen and the first to go back in.

Sad   R.I.P. you independent wayward 5-13 male.
#5 MALE, YELLOW band found dead December 2104
The remains of male no. 5-13 were recently found at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Wakulla County, Florida. His death apparently had occurred on Thanksgiving night.
Whooping Crane mortalities

Chick 7   MALE  - ORANGE band -  got back pack transmitters 9-14
007 is not a fan of the adults. Whenever they show up, he’s not afraid to chase after them or jab at them even through the fence.  And they are submissive to him! I have seen him stand up to #1. If he can keep this up, then the throne could pass over to him.

Chick 8  FEMALE  8 light blue band
The little sister gets scared of things a little more easily than the other birds do, scared of the doors that open up for training.

#8 female colt from class of 2013 dead
January 12, 2015
 -  Her transmitter was not functioning so OM caught her to replace it. But as OM approached her, she was limping badly and had to be euthanized.  The survival rate of the Class of 2013 has dropped to 50% in less than a year.

Chick 9  MALE Green band  got *back pack transmitters 9-14
The youngest bird in the bunch. The other birds don’t give him as much respect but he still holds his own against the adult cranes. He seems to be the least experienced flier of the bunch. The first time he took off, he seemed to have gotten lost. He flew around aimlessly before touching down in the tall grass.

*  The back pack transmitters annoyed the birds too much and were removed.

I excerpted from this link, read it all here.
Chick 6 did not survive

July 9 the crane chicks arrive in Wisconsin

Chix pix the day they arrive in Wis

* Band colors changed just before migration October 2

August 18 training was about half hour, and 6 of the chicks flew about 15 minutes and 3 flew in formation behind one wing most of the 30 minutes.
Excellent training day!   Very Happy

The most important part of training is  FOLLOW ME!
The chicks must all follow the trike from Wisconsin to Florida.

Aug 22, 2013
Today was the most - interesting - training day.
Training for the group of 8 was short.
Fog delay, then pilot Richard took 7 crane chix for about 5 minute flight.
All 8 took off with him but #9, the youngest, dropped out quickly.
Workers penned the other 7.
Then Richard took that one on a solo flight and spent 5 minutes in air.
They really look pretty in flight!

NBG, Richmond and Decorah eagles
I was paging thru past years, some nice pics here
Ah memories!

Please ALWAYS ID your target - BEFORE shooting!

Sandhill Crane hunting likely in Tennessee
15 states in the U.S. already have sandhill crane hunting seasons.
People eat cranes as we do ducks, pheasants, deer or fish.
This is not a killing sport.  It is feeding families in hard economic times.

Sandhill cranes are NOT endagered - but whoopers are!
Whooping Crane chicks get shot - which are the same cinnamon color as the sandhills.

Please ALWAYS ID your target - BEFORE shooting!

Tennessee may have a hunting season for sandhill cranes.
Wildlife officials, hunters, wildlife watchers and conservationists gathered inKnoxville to consider whether or not to
hunt sandhill cranes during a 3-year experimental season in SE Tennessee.

Wildlife Management approved a recommendation to hunt sandhill cranes beginning this Fall 2013.
The issue will be voted on by the full commission, passage seems likely.
888 of 1,073 people who submitted their opinion were opposed to a hunting season.
(presumably on cranes, altho far too many birdies dont even like target practice, let alone any hunting of anything.)

TWRA biologists proposed a shortened with reduced shooting hours to compromise with opponents
on whether to allow hunting of sandhill cranes in Tennessee.

Dr. Robert Brewer, president of the Cleveland State Community College Wildlife Society said hunting and crane viewing can occur together.
Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge only exists because of hunters' dollars who have provided the habitat and maintence of this area that attracted the cranes.

Opponents fear that even limited hunting could lead to inadvertent kills of whooping cranes,
a federally endangered species
, which migrates through the area right with the sandhills.

Who could mistake the WHITE whooper and the BROWN sandhill you ask?
I ask - who could mistake prey target from a human?  Can I give you - Dick Cheney?  Please.

TN Ornithological Society does NOT support the sandhill crane hunting season.
There are only 104 whooping cranes in the entire East, and most migrate through Tennessee.
While adult whooping cranes are almost solid white, juvenile whooping cranes and sandhills have very similar plummage
and are hard to identify in the field.

A farmer spoke out in support of a hunting season. He is a hunter and owns a farm adjacent to the refuge.
He plants 80-100 acres of crops every year. Sandhill cranes damage his crops.

Wildlife commissioners need to base their decisions on the best management practices and not on emotions or public opinion.

Tennessee Wildlife Regulators Pass Historic Sandhill Crane Hunting Season
Aug 23, 2013 noon
Knoxville, TN (WTVC-TV) - Tennessee will have the first sandhill crane in the state beginning Nov. 28, 2013.
The historic step  has been down a tumultuous and controversial path however.
Very nice photo of a flock of sandies in flight.

Lead poisoning in the wild - from bullets
Also windmills etc

Aug 23, 2013
Training in the fog!
 Pilot tume today is - Brooke?
Just before 7 am the trike arrived, and all 8 chicks followed him - out of cam view.
One was pretty far behind - but following.
They were all 8 in flight about 10 minutes - no one kept exact time.
Then pilot walked them for a cool down, and fed them grapes on the ground.
Then back up for a 3 minutes flight.
On the runway they jump around excitedly, curious, playful, some aggression.

Aug. 23 training video
Watch them take off into the mist.  WOW!
 Very Happy

Cute videos of cranes past years

Whooping Cranes Devour Pumpkin
Oct 19, 2011
During the southward Whooping crane migration, the cranes are often provided with pumpkins as a form of enrichment.
These orange balls provide hours of exploration and consumption and help to alleviate boredom during times when the weather keeps the migration grounded.

Operation Migration Safeguarding Whooping cranes

Young Whooping Cranes
The Class of 2011
gets out for some stretch time after being grounded for 11 days at their first migration stopover -
only 5 miles from where they began their 1285 mile journey
Watch the 'tume' - the man in a white costume - jump around playing with them.

Aug 24, 2013    
Richard is our pilot today, and all 8 took off nicely, 7 returned.
The 7 were up flying for 8 minutes, from 7.07 to 7.15 am.
Chick 9 dropped out, he is the youngest, but only by 5 days.
They flew nicely, 4 on each side
Richard turns and cuts the corner in flight to let them catch up
It looks DANGEROUS for Richard to fly SO LOW, but he is very experienced.

7:12 elfruler posted
I've been surprised all season so far at how quickly pilots will move the burds to something new - lifting off, making circuits, staying in the air, etc.

colleen replied
I think that is kinda the trick to it - once they start flying they need to get them away from the runway where it's easy to drop out

Aug 24  training video with Richard
Trike arrives about 1/4 of the way into video, 8 chicks come out and 8 follow.
He flies far and one dropped out again and was lost - well - he knew where he was.
Richard penned the other 7 and flew off to gather in the lost one, like a Good Shepherd.
Lo and behold, lil Lost One was awaitin on the trike on the runway when he got back. Haha! ... err ...  peep peep!

Over 200 whooping cranes winter in Texas

Nice conservation video

Whooping Crane Migration
2007 crane migration with Joe Duff

Operation Migration Whooping Cranes
Nov. 23, 2012 FINAL FLIGHT


Aug 27, 2013
Training cancelled again due to winds aloft.  Richard tried but too rough.

Crane Training Update by Captain Heather (I edited, click link)
Saturday (Aug. 24) was the last time the Whooping crane Class of 2013 went through their paces with the aircraft and all 8 were airborne for a total of 12 minutes in two flights. The first flight lasted 8 minutes and after a brief rest and some grapes as treats, Richard took off with them again for a 4 minute tour around White River Marsh.

Just before he landed with them on the runway adjacent their enclosure, chick #7-13 decided he’d had enough and landed out in the marsh.
The rest were led into the pen and Richard was airborne again to find the dropout and guiding him back home.
However about 30 seconds after he took to the air, #7-13 came cruising in from the south end of the field and landed right next to the enclosure.

Audubon mag August 2013
recovery is one of conservation's great successes.
TEXAS February 12, 2013 Audubon was cruising the Intracoastal Waterway near the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf Coast.
The refuge helps sustain somewhere between 178 and 362 whooping cranes.  (Too big to count?   LOL! )
These birds migrate from breeding grounds in northern Canada to wintering habitat here in south Texas.

Whooping Cows?
A boy/girl pair of endangered Whooping cranes have returned twice consecutively and independently to a Cow Pond.
SouthWood have a mission to protect this pair of whoopers and preserve their habitat.
Large in size and named for their distinctive whooping call, Whooping cranes are migratory birds that summer in Canada and Wisconsin, and fly south for the winter to places like Texas and Florida.
As for the pair of Whooping cranes in SouthWood ... they have decamped to their summer home in Wisconsin. Reproduction is anticipated; and, according to Lou Kellenberger of the refuge, eggs have been laid up north.

Mid East Bird migrations
AUDUBON June 2013
Israel is one of the best hot spots in the world for bird migrations.
Israel and Jordan sit at the junction of 3 continents. About 540 bird species can be spotted.

Sandhill Crane Hunt in TN Approved
Tennessee Fish and Wildlife voted unanimously in favor of a limited Sandhill crane hunt in their state,
which will begin November 28 and run through to January 1, 2014.

Aug 29, 2013
Thick FOG again -  Trike arrived for training just before 9:00 am - very late - but a beautiful day
WHO is training WHO?  Chix loosed from the pen - and took off  -  without the trike!
They did return and the trike got airborn with 5 chicks. Richard swung around and picked up the 3 others for a short flight.
All 8 flew maybe 3 minutes - I didnt time it.  Very short training.
HeatherRayOM said the flight was short because of humidity - it was difficult to breathe.

Sept 3, 2013
Morning fog today, so the trike didnt arrive until 7.15 but over 100 people watching were so delighted to see it!
Brooke is off into the mist with 8 crane chicks on his tail!  Very Happy
Brooke is the pilot.  He took off at 7.17 am with 8 chicks, 5 dropt out, 3 kept following and they landed at  7.25 after an 8 minute flight.
8 minites on the first flight.  After a few grapes and a break, he took off again.
Brooke landed after 6 minutes - with just one bird

Crane Training Update by Heather
Sep 3
Since August 25th wind has been the word du jour, with one brief exception on August 29th, when, after a long fog delay the cranes were able to get airborne briefly with the aircraft. On that day training didn’t begin until 8:45am and conditions quickly deteriorated so Richard did one circuit with the young birds before landing.

This morning Brooke launched with all 8 cranes and flew for 5 minutes with the entire group.
Upon making a pass by their enclosure, 5 landed, while 3 others continued on following the trike out over the marsh to the north of the pen and back, making their flight 8 minutes in total.

After a brief rest and some grapes were dispensed, Brooke took off again, this time for an additional 3 minutes of flight time.
Click link for images by Tom Schultz as he and Geoff hid inside the crane enclosure.

Sept 4, 2013    
6.45 - 6.59  Brook is the pilot, almost 15 minutes in the air.  4 birds stayed with him, the other 4 dropt out
Some said a sandhill crane, others said a blue heron flew in.
Rather distracting for the youngsters.

Sept 5, 2013
6.35 am  Sandhill cranes flew overhead.
Our pilot Brooke flew ONE flight today, from 6.50 to 7.17.
All 8 crane chicks followed at first, one dropped out after 9 minutes, 3 more later.
4 finished with him.  Part of the time they sailed beautifully without flapping - but most of the trip was flapping.

AUCTION Sep 6 - 26
Operation Migration $ALEabration

Very Happy   Whooping Crane (eye) Candy
Doug Pellerin captured pics of the chix inside the pen August 31st

Sept 6, 2013
All 8 in the air for 18 minutes
Pilot today is Brooke again.  He was flying HIGHER and further today.
All 8 took off with Brooke.
20 minute flight 6.59 - 7.20
About 7.18 am - 4 birds still flying but 4 birds dropt off.  All 8 had been flying for at least 15 minutes.
Walking on the runway, some chix show some aggression displaying, some walk along grazing on bugs

Successful Training Flight,  Sep. 6 report by Heather, OM
Yesterday’s flight was spectacular!
In total it lasted 28 minutes as the young Whooping cranes were treated to an extended tour of White River Marsh.
Eight of the cranes flew for 8 minutes and as they passed by the training site, one crane (#9-13) broke away from the flight
slowly descending to land in front of their enclosure.

Pilot Brooke Pennypacker continued with the remaining seven cranes for approximately 10 more minutes
before three others (#2, #3 & #5) landed in front of the pen. Brooke kept flying with the remaining four birds for yet another 10 minutes,
bringing the total flight time for at least four of them to 28 minutes.

No doubt about it, this cohort is almost ready to begin their first-ever southward migration to Florida behind our aircraft!

Sept 9, 2013
140 were viewing training today.  Brooke is pilot.  They flew for 33 minutes - the longest flight so far.
Takeoff at 6.52 and the trike landed at  7.25 am
6 chicks flew from 6.52 to 7.25

4 on each wing and they flew out into the misty dawn. VERY VERY hard to see - mist, fog
I glimpsed the cranes - one huge bird flew by - LOOKOUT Brooke!
Brooke is flying much higher with them again
About 7.05 one dropt out  (it was chick #5)
7.11 a 2nd dropout  (chick #2)
7.19  one crane chick flying back n forth repeatedly over the runway - he was a dropout

As we drove along highway 401 I opened the CraneCam on my Ustream app and was thrilled to see that
Tom and Geoff had just released the cranes and Brooke was charging down the runway with them flying after him.
This morning’s session lasted 33 minutes – the longest flight yet!
Brooke reported that the air was pretty bumpy and he was considering aborting.  He decided to give it a try and it appeared the training went very well – even though #5-13 returned after awhile, and then later #2-13 dropped off.
Tom (the Tume) Schultz images on link

Watch them fly daily just after 7:30 am central time

Dont forget to check OM online for Captain Heather reports

Sept 29 they hope to fly these 8 crane chicks to Florida behind 2 trikes

Sept 12, 2013
2nd trike came today.  MASS CONFUSION!
6.54 pilot took off with 6 birds.  The 7th flew out late and gave up before it began.
Sandhill cranes flew by in the opposite direction - several times.  LOOKOUT!
We saw at least a dozen birds in the background.
When the 2nd trike arrived, 2 flying chicks came in to welcome it.
It was confusion - for both crane chicks - AND US WATCHERS!
They sure didnt fly long, but we were told its NORMAL for chix to be confused by 2 trikes.

2 videos of training Sep 12 - split
Following is Captain Heathers report.  I saw 6 fly with the first trike, not 8, but who am I to contradict?
Here are the 2 videos.  They are split - See what YOU think. hahaha

Confused Cranes
There was a large number of people anticipating a flyover this morning.
Surface conditions were calm at sunrise so both Brooke and Joe suited up and flew to the training site.
This would be the first time the Whooping cranes would see both aircraft at the same time.
Brooke launched with all eight cranes, while Joe circled, high above.
When a couple of Brooke’s trailed behind Joe moved in to lend them a wing.
Unfortunately at the same time, flight conditions deteriorated and the wind started picking up,
making it difficult for the cranes to follow so the decision was made to abort the training session.

Aug 30, 2013 backpacks didnt work.
It takes a week for OM to regain the trust of the cranes after they are handled.

 Sept 13, 2013  Friday  They flew for 9 minutes.
BROOK, the first trike tookoff at 6.59 am with all 8 birds, and landed at 7.08
Joe Duff, the 2nd trike joined up in the air with passenger Kenn Kaufman aboard, and flew with the first trike and birds.
Someone said it was the fastwing trike.  Unconfirmed.
Near end of flight other birds seen flying.
We had about 170 viewers today in the chatroom.

Yesterday was mass chaos with 2 trikes for the first time.
2 videos of training Sep 12 - split
Heather is calling the crane chicks - colts.  New term for me!

Migration expected to commence in 2 weeks!
Watch them fly on the map beginning hopefully Sept 28

Watch cranes LIVE or video later

Sept 14, 2013 Saturday
This is only my observations.  NO chatroom help for me today.
7.00 am  A light mist became heavier
7.30  trike arrives, 2 tumes chat with pilot, trike parks
7.32  2nd trike arrives, parks.  Joe Duff is one of the pilots, name is on trike.
7.35 am 4 men walkin around in white nightshirts discussing a plan
 -  One tume walked over to the blind
7.46  starts his engine and takes off!   Cranes are peeping, sound upset!  I guess he flew away to let first trike take chicks out.

7.54 - 8.08 is 14 minutes.  PERFECT flying weather - gorgeous day!

7.54 am  the trike left with *some* cranes - off into the mist  
7.59  I count 3 birds - dont think they all followed   -  I think I glimpled the other trike

8.02  evidently this is trike 2 - it landed to pick up 2 birds on runway.
He began to take off - no followers.  They spread their wings but didnt follow.
After a false start, both followed, one reluctant and peeled off.
Trike turned and flew past runway with flying chick - one standing who spread wings but wouldnt fly
8.05 - another pass - no flyers - 2 on runway.  Epic fail.  haha
8.08  trike 1 returns, lands with 5 birds - OH!  BOTH trikes are on runway!  bad cam op

8.20  one trike takes off alone - flies around - why?  is one chick missing?
I never accounted for one crane today.  Saw 2 on runway - 5 return with first trike - thats 7 chicks
YES!  1 chick was lost - they brot him up about 8.30 from the end of the runway - looks like a ditch there.
Chick #7 was the stray
3 chicks got transmitters on leg yesterday - and I see the long antenna sticking out.
8.36 am  trikes left

These tumes and pilots are good shepherds who seek their little lost one

Sept 14  video - 2 trikes

9-13 videos
chicks 4, 7 and 9 got back pack transmitters
Leg transmitters put on birds, vaccinations  9-13

First video opens after training flight has begun, followed by birds getting transmitters.

Training begins at the tail end of this video

Sept 16, 2013
Beautiful clear cool day!  Colleen is one of the 5 tumes
2 trikes, 1 of them had a passenger again
The birds are NOT flying very long, only about 10 minutes a day

7.21   trike arrived, turned around and birds were released - they took off without trike down runway and away
7.23 about - forgot to look - trike took off - caught some birds, 1 dropt off right away, returned to base
7.26  3 on runway
7.27  I see 5 cranes trailing trike - and I see the 2nd trike
          total 8 birds
7.30 trike lands - It looked like 7 were with it - with 1 stray on runway near pen
2nd trike flew over

7.32  trike took off again - with 5 ? birds - flew a small circle - landed 7.34
all 8 collect
Saw shadow of trike 2 flying above
1 crane chick DOES NOT want to fly
7.42  plane wing tips down, pilot exits - looks like he is tossing grapes around for birds
7.54 they are penning the chicks
8.09  last trike departs

9-16  video

One Health and Environmentalism
WHY is it witchcraft / satanism?

Colorado flooding

Today the nutcases controlled the chat - anti-hunting, hysterical about a distant gunshot,
favoring animals over humans, promoting reincarnation instead of the Bible - all straight out of Satanism.
I said STOP it and I got my post deleted so I left chat again - before the trike arrived.
This is the 3rd time I have left the OM chat due to attacks.  
These people can worship false gods if they choose, but why in the chat?
It would be fun to watch migration but if mods are going to abuse Christians and favor the Dark side, I wont make it.

I understand people DONT KNOW what witchcraft, satanism is, but they dont want to know either, and the mods favor the Dark side.
ALL the animal cams worship nature and to one degree or another have contempt for the true GOD of creation and His SON Jesus Christ the LORD.
Romans 1

Sept 17, 2013  Tuesday
All 8 still with trike  -  2 trikes in flight

7.55 am  trikes fly in, one lands, one passes over
7.58 (about) trike took off with all 8
8.01  I think 2nd trike landed - only heard sound
8.07 trike still has 7 chicks following behind him- dunno what happened to 8th
8.12 now I count 6
8.15  trike landed - I count 7 - the 8th was waiting end of runway with trike 2
I guess 7 of them flew about 17 minutes

8.26 the 7 chicks are penned, here comes the 8th - the male with the transmitter.  green band
8.31 - he is in the pen, but he sure did NOT want to go in.


2013 Whooping Crane Festival weekend
I edited Heathers Sept 17 report
Kenn Kaufman, author and conservationist was the keynote speaker
Pat Fisher from The Feather bird rehabilitation center was another speaker.
Tom Schultz, another volunteer tume (and photographer!) presented a program titled - Yes, there ARE other birds at White River Marsh.
Dr. John French, Research Manager at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center discussed the role Patuxent plays in the Whooping Crane reintroduction
and Joe Duff presented his flying with cranes program to the crowd.

Volunteer Doug Pellerin was awarded with OM Volunteer of the Year award. Doug works as a 'tume' - a costumed handler (and takes nice photos of cranes!)
Joe Duff was presented with a framed set of feathers carved from wood (photo on link) to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his first flight with birds.
There are several pairs of Whooping cranes and hoards of Sandhill cranes at Necedah Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County, Wisconsin.
Kenn flew with OM Joe Duff during the Sept 16 training session.

CHATROOM anti-American mod deleted my ONLY post - AGAIN!  So I left again.
The anti-American nature worshippers post how they hate hunting.
All I said was guns and hunting are legal in USA - and got deleted by an anti-American satanist mod.
There is no reason to be in the chatroom if they wont allow me to chat - when satanism is worshipped and America is hated.
To delete my reasonable and factual post is saying - OH SHUT UP - to me.  It shows contempt for me and for America and our laws.
If they ban me for being a law abiding American Christian, so be it.

Environmentalism is witchcraft / satanism


TRAINING RECAP Sept 17, 2013  by Heather
After a late start due to early morning fog, Joe makes a slow pass by the public viewing area with 7 Whooping cranes trailing behind his small aircraft shortly before 8 am.
Joe continued along with the 7 cranes lined up nicely, while Richard flew in the chase position, slightly behind and at a higher altitude so as not to disturb or spook the cranes following Joe.

The 8th young crane (#9) landed just off the north end of the runway a couple of minutes after launching.
Later #5 broke away from Joe - so Richard moved in to lend him a wing.
He continued flying solo with Richard for a few minutes, while Joe carried on well to the north with his remaining six cranes.
In total the flight lasted more than 20 minutes.
Pics on link

9-17 video of training

Sept 18 and 19, 2013   RAINING, No training    
6.44 am  #1 is in pen in the water, pulling on her band - and it appears loose.

Backpacks on Birds - (edited by me)
Sep. 19, 2013 report by Joe Duff / Heather
Before we leave on the migration from Wisconsin to Florida, the birds must be banded and have radio transmitters fitted to their legs.
We use a snap on radio band which can be attached in seconds without picking the birds up. The permanent bands are fitted once they arrive in Florida.

A tracking device using cell phone technology to connect to GPS are mounted on the bird using a backpack. Teflon ribbon is used to cross under the wings holding the device firmly on their backs where it is soon preened into the feathers and almost disappears.  So for a couple of days cranes #4, 7 & 9 were not too happy with us.

Cranes can be curious or even aggressive to each other when one of them is different.
We watched them closely to ensure that did not happen and were pleased to observe that nothing changed in their social order.

We did find however, after a few days of flying there were problems with the way the units fit on their backs.
They sit a little too high causing drag when the birds are flying. After we noticed a reduction in their endurance, the units were removed.
Click link for complete report


Sept 20, 2013  Friday   RAINING, No training  
Wisconsin to Florida Migration
A mod posted the birds fly about 30 minutes.
The first legs of the flight are short - presumably to let birds know they wont return to pen.

Whooping crane Migration Route

MIGRATION TIMELINES - For Those Who Like to Keep Score...
Compare the progress of the current fall migration with past years!
This is a bit amusing - you can see they have their troubles!

2012 Migration viewing locations
Departures usually happen within 10 minutes of sunrise so you will want to be onsite by then.
Ability to fly is entirely weather dependent, and we rarely know until takeoff time whether or not we will be able to fly.

Sept 21, 2013  Satrday   No training -  OOPS!   Embarassed
Sunday morning they said the cranes DID fly Saturday when cam was down.  No one knew that yesterday.
8.37 am  The cam was off until a few minutes ago.
We do not know if there was training or not.  Probably not, wind, soggy runway.  Just my guess.
OM hopes to leave for Florida Sep 30
View their last week of LIVE training at 7:00 am central time

ClaireD46: The target date is Sept 30th - Monday
ruckus2: i heard sept 30 also

Leg bands - 2013

1  female, white band - died en route Florida to Wisconsin
2 is Black female
3 is Red male  - died en route Florida to Wisconsin
4 is Blue Male
5  Male, yellow band - found dead in Florida December 2014  Sad
7 is Orange male
8 light blue female
9 is  Green Male

Sept 22, 2013  SONday
1 trike  -   4 birds flew about 26 minutes

6.30 am  Today they are saying the cranes DID fly yesterday, Sept. 21 but nothing about it in journal.
7.45 trike arrived in fog, landed, and sat there for 15 minutes waiting for fog to lift.

Richard is pilot
Trike took off at 8:00 and landed the last time at 8.27
Broken training, birds sure not ready for a distance flight.

8.00 - 8.04 - all 8 followed the trike
 -  flight of our birds interrupted by other birds flying nearby
8.04  trike landed again
8.05  off again
- 3 birds broke away and flew back to pen
8.10  -  5 birds left left following Richard flying very LOW
8.12 runway passover picked 2 up - 7 now following
8.15  now 4 birds still with trike for another 9 minutes
8.24 another runway pass - one followed, the rest scattered all over runway so Richard cant land, he flies around then manages to put down
8.27  landing

*  Migration target date moved from Sat. Sept 28 to Monday, Sept 30 - depending on preps

Sept 23, 2013  Monday
Flight 8.20 - 8.47 - 27 mintues, but all 8 birds didnt fly all 27
Joe and Richard are pilots today - Joe lead, Richard chase
8.18  cranes let out, and 4 took off - ahead of the trike, circled and returned to base.

8.20  they're off with 6 birds behind the trike
8:22  HeatherRayOM:  3 & 9 on runway - 9 is minus his bling - Richard is picking them up

8.30 ABOUT - 5 lands at pen
 -  chat blanked out and I was distracted
 -  Heather kept her eye on birds
8.35 - now 2 birds are on the runway
8.37  Richard trike lands

8.38  Joe still flyng with 4 birds
8.47  Joe lands with 4 birds
8.20 - 8.47

Come Fly With Us
Heather put pilots eye view of Sept 23 training video on youtube for us.
We see the cranes come out of their pen, watch the shadows of the trike and the cranes,
fly over the blue White River, very pretty.  Some cranes flap hard, one glides off wingtip.
THANK YOU Heather!

Crane #9 lost his Green leg band Sep. 22 - will need new one

Weekend Training Recap
by Heather Sep. 23, 2013 (excerpts)

Richard got the young cranes airborne over the weekend. Saturday morning winds were out of the north at 6 mph but steady and the cranes seemed eager to fly.
On the initial take-off, 4 cranes followed him on a large circuit, the other 4 stayed behind on the runway.
After a brief flight over the marsh, Richard landed and passed out some grapes and a few minutes later he launched again with all 8 cranes.
They followed well

Sunday winds were negligible, once fog cleared (8.00am) all of the cranes eagerly exited the pen and were airborne quickly.
24 minutes later they all landed in front of their enclosure. With only a week to go before the start of the 2013 migration
each and every flying day is important and helps them to build endurance and to sort out their social order in the air.

2 Whooping cranes from 2012 observed.  They haven’t been spotted at the training site since August 18th.
Doug Pellerin images show the 2 yearling cranes.  Click for full report.

9-22 training videos - split

Sept 24, 2013    Tuesday  No training
still thick fog at 9 am -

Crane Camp Life – Day #1
Sep. 24, 2013 Heather's report
Preparations at camp are in full swing
I need a Phillips screw with a head that’s bigger than this one but smaller than this one. Do you have any?  - Check the plastic box in the aircraft trailer
Can you fit this bucket under your bed? I need a piece of wood about 3ft long.
Richard (pilot) cuts a hole in the roof of the new tracking van to install the antenna needed to pick up the signals of the radio leg bands the birds wear.

Grasshoppers are plentiful and we contemplate ways to capture them for the cranes.
Geesh, I can’t even hold a cell signal long enough to connect! Oh well I tried to call…
Was that a monarch?  Have you seen my boots?  Do you have any Gorilla tape?
I can’t find the charger for my radio.

9-23  videos

OM video with music

sounds of silence

Scarborough Fair

Sail Away

NBC Reporterette Erica Hill and trike pilot Joe Duff, both costumed,
go into the pen with the cranes and capture some film

Sept 25, 2013    Wednesday
NBC TV camera crew came back this morning - in the blind - to film training - but no training.
The fog was too thick and by the time the fog dissipated the wind came up

Come Fly With Us
Heather put pilots eye view of Sept 23 training video on youtube for us.
We see the cranes come out of their pen, watch the shadows of the trike and the cranes,
fly over the blue White River, very pretty.  Some cranes flap hard, one glides off wingtip.
THANK YOU Heather!

Our whoopers - TV stars?
WHAT was all that activity yesterday late afternoon (8-24) around 5.00 pm  ?
Several tumes arrived including Colleen and Joe Duff (pilot), then BIG professional TV cameras arrive and go over to the blind.
The *blind* is where people hide to watch the cranes.
A reporterette, Erica Hill, and Joe, both costumed, go into the pen with the cranes and capture some film.

At first the cranes stayed loyal to Joe.  They can tell who is who even costumed, and they knew the reporterette was not familiar.
Joe waded way back into the water, to let cranes alone with reporterette, but they followed him, away from Erica.  LOL!
So Joe came back up next to Erica.  Soon brave #8 female crane with the light blue band took a grape from reporterette.
Then they all leave again.  They say it was NBC and they will tell us when they air it.

Sept 26, 2013    Thursday  - no training again  -  MEEP!      
They have NOT trained since Monday 23rd

Volunteer in Training
Sep. 26, 2013 Jo-Anne Bellemer  (Jo is Captain Heathers roomie.  I edit, click link to read her report)
The Whooping Crane colts are in training and so am I. As I am writing this, I have been in camp now just under 24 hours and still have a lot to learn. Yesterday was move-in day.
CAMP - Picture a circle of conestoga wagons. Now turn them into RVs and add a few vans, utility trailers, a porta-potty,
an old concrete corn silo, and a 35 foot aircraft trailer that I will be pulling    once we start migrating.
There are 4 RVs, I’m in the RV with 3 others. Yours, mine and ours!  What needs doing and how can I help?  How does the toilet work?

Its chilly overnight and so far the heat in our RV is not working – good thing for warm sleeping bags!  This morning, the truck’s windshield was ice. Richard (a pilot, metal-smith, and fixer-of-all-things) is working on it.

We’re up before sunrise every day!, get dressed, have a coffee, and wait for the pilots to decide if the weather is suitable.
This morning, there’s no wind, but there’s quite a bit of fog that has to burn off prior to the pilots being able to fly.
Two pilots head to the small airport about 10 miles away where the aircraft are hangared.

Heather and I head to the pensite because she wants to set up an antenna and wifi signal in the parking lot and see if it will work for a news crew who is coming.
I go along to help out and take pictures of the birds training!

Finally the fog is thin enough that Heather texts Joe and says “OK to take off”.
Once in range, all communications between the handlers, the pilots, and Heather are by radio.
It’s really cool listening to one pilot tell the other how many birds are following, how many are dropping back,
if any have headed back to the tiny grass runway outside of the pen, or that he’s picking up two that have dropped back.

The pilots land on the runway, the handlers are given the hand signal to open the pen doors,
and 8 “happy flappy” colts run out towards the aircraft, hopping and flapping because they want to FLY!
Joe times his takeoff so the birds run behind him and quickly get in the air.
But this time they are so excited they fly out in front of him so he aborts and walks them back for a re-start.
Some of the birds find the “sweet spot” behind the wing and some obviously require more training.

Migration is currently targeted for September 30th - weather permitting.
The wind has to be perfect - and no fog.

Well, time for me to get back to my training. HEY, CAN ANYONE SHOW ME HOW TO OPERATE THE TV???

Thanks Toots!  Really good report!  I enjoyed it!

Sept 27, 2013  Friday
The first trike appeared to fly from 7.44 til 8.01 - about 17 minutes

7.44 takeoff - Joe Duff with fastwing with yellow wing (looks lime green)
7.50 I see a trike on runway with - 3?  -birds - and he's off again at 7.51
7.53  the 2nd trike I think - landing - no bird following - birds were on runway (slowwing)
8.02 the first trike lands - 7.44 - 8.02
It kinds looked like the 2nd trike performed for the NBC cam set up at the end of the runway.

The 3 pilots have different color wings
Joe = yellow.
Brooke = red
Richard = orange

How do They Know When it is Time to go?
Sep. 27, 2013 by OM pilot Joe Duff

I wish we could use the same clues that trigger the migration of wild birds as indicators of when to begin ours - or maybe we do.
For them, a couple of nights of freezing their butts off while standing on one leg, hock deep in cold marsh water is a pretty good motivator.  
For us, the furnace in our big travel trailer has been on the fritz for the last week.
With overnight temperatures in the mid 30’s, even double sleeping bags don’t work to keep us warm.
In fact, the sleeping part is not as bad as the getting up at zero dark thirty.  
At least we don’t have to keep one eye open all night watching for predators.

Setting the date for the start of the migration is really one of those futile exercises like telling a police officer that as a taxpayer, he actually works for you.
In truth, the weather is our police officer.  Also when the travel pens are fully stocked, the vehicles serviced and the furnace is finally fixed.  

The first leg of the migration is only a few miles away. That means that the transition from the summer situation to the migration set up, is a moving target.
The aircraft hangar is 9 miles to the north, and the camp is 4 miles to the east,
the birds will be 8 miles to the south at the first stop, so we dont leave our camp site until we move the birds to stop two of the migration.
The indicators to migrate are the unreliable weather and the slowly diminishing list of things to do.
We have targeted September 30th but we don’t have much say in the matter anyway.

FYI - The cranes flew Sep 23, 22, 21, 17,16,14,13 - so you see they missed a LOT of flying days
I am SO GLAD Joe posted!  I pulled excerpts - read link
I hate to edit anything when its ALL good.

OM Whooping Crane Cam chat
Questions and answers with Joe and Heather
Very interesting video, even if your not into birds.  History of Joe, OM, whoopers
The GSB falcons had a very bad infestation of black flies in 2013 which drove the 4 falcon chicks to jump early.
All survived. So I found this video interesting in many ways - including that.
Whoopers abandoned eggs due to them, the falcons didnt

Flight school

5.00 pm Friday an egret came to visit.  He sat on the board of the pen

Sept 28, 2013    Saturday -  MEEPday!  no training again  -  MEEP!

A Grand Entrance
Sep. 28, 2013
by Colleen 'Crash' Chase - as usual, I pulled excerpts
There is nothing like making a grand entrance and first impression.
I got to CraneCamp Wisconsin on September 10th.
The following Sunday both Geoff and Brooke left for a vacation and so my official duties began.

Monday morning bright and early I left camp to go meet Tom Schultz so we could release the chicks for aircraft training.
I met Tom at the gate and headed in along the narrow gravel road, when the van wheels grabbed to the right and I found myself in the ditch – on the first day I reported for duty!
I was hopeful that Tom could pull me out after training as the aircraft were on their way.  Tom and I went on to the pen.
After training we tried to get the poor van out of the ditch with no success so Tom called Joe and Richard who came to the rescue.
The 3 guys were the best sports about the whole thing. It took about 48 hours for me to see the humor in the situation though.
Brooke has given me a new nickname, ‘Crash

Colleen’s first few days back in 2012

Oct 7, 2012 report

Meet the class of 2013

Sept 29, 2013    SONday
I think Joe flew 50 minutes with 3 cranes today - not official
Richard was chase pilot, trike2 slow wing
NBC TV is here again, video cams set up on runway in at least 2 locations
Crane 9 got his new band on Sept 27
Crane 8s band/transmitter was removed

Heard a lot of gunshots, some target practice, one person said duck hunting
Lots of un-American, irrational whining in chat about it
With all the whining about guns I posted -
- OM and pilots arent concerned so we shouldnt be -
  and one of the mods deleted it - but didnt delete the whining about guns!
How un-American!  How nasty!  So I left chat again.
A couple of the mods are really bad, but several are good.  They make it very clear who they like - and dont like.
Too many bird watchers are so psychotic that they give the whole preservation move a bad name.
You dont encourage sympathy or donations for saving cranes when some hate America and our laws.

PIC RIGHT - 8.37 NICE PIC of 3 followers, you see 2 already peeling off

OK here are my observations.  Check 9-29  training video
.  Im unsure how many birds with who.  Hard to tell!

About 8:23 ?  Joe arrives with his yellow fastwing trike and 6 birds leave but 3 return again
8.26  Joe (or was that chase pilot?) flew over runway with 3 cranes trailing - hoping to pick up the rest
8.29  Richard with slow wing trike 2 lands -  is the wind up?  wings are rocking
8.33  trike2 passes over runway to pick up stray, and 5 follow but not for long
8.35  trike2 lands again
8.37  he tries to coax the reluctant 5 to fly again.  Nope.  dont wanna, so he flies the opposite direction and they follow - NICE PIC!
8.41 trike2 lands, wings rocking a lot - and when flying the trike appeared to rock a lot
 -   Those cranes DO NOT appear ready to migrate tomorrow!  -  but - we'll see
8.45 he's off again
8.47  I saw people on the roadway into the pen area as trike / cranes flew over them
8.49  trike lands - looking wobbly
trike parked at end of runway to await Joe who has been in the air since aobut 8.23 - forgot to check clock
yes wind is up - wing down to ground
Trike2 took off again!  9:00 at least 3 flew after him, but only 1 stuck with him  -  Didnt see the time, I was too surprised

9.08  Joe lands with 6 cranes and the 2nd trike behind him
9.09  trike 2 lands with one bird

Those pilots are so patient with the birds.
I guess when birds saw Joe and the other 3 they peeled off and joined the herd.
Its not easy to type notes AND watch the video and take snapshots!

Bob & Mary Vethe photo above, more here

Twas the Day Before Migration
Sep. 29, 2013  and all through the camp
, every creature was scurrying while things were still damp.
Richard does some last minute welding. He’d best be careful or he’ll end up a gelding.  
Geoff gathers trash and runs to the dump. Upon returning he tossed the cans with a THUMP!
Joe makes a trip for much needed lumber so that Doug Pellerin will get a dry slumber.
Heather tries to fix the brake lights on the Jamboree in hopes of avoiding a fine and a fee.
The cranes? They’re oblivious to all of the fuss we just hope tomorrow they’ll bestow on us their trust.
Photos on link -  AMEN.  Cute report. Thanx!

Whooping Cranes migrating from Wisconsin to Florida
They are scheduled to leave Sept 30 - flying behind the trikes (flying contraption)
Yes they have videos!

Watch flying on LIVE CAM shortly after dawn

Whooping crane Migration Route

MIGRATION TIMELINES - For Those Who Like to Keep Score...
Compare the progress of the current fall migration with past years!
This is a bit amusing - you can see they have their troubles!

2012 Migration viewing locations
Departures usually happen within 10 minutes of sunrise so you will want to be onsite by then.
Ability to fly is entirely weather dependent, and we rarely know until takeoff time whether or not we will be able to fly.

Trike training cranes to migrate south

Migration still targeting TOMORROW -  STOP 1  -  Green Lake Wis

Sept-29  long shadows eveng in the White Marsh Wisconsin pen for our whoopers.
Sept 30 dawn

Sept 30, 2013    Monday  MEEP!
6:44 colleenluvscranes:  pilots on the way to the airport
7.40 am  300 viewers - and both migration and training are cancelled due to winds.
An hour from pilots leaving camp for the airport we found out NO flying today
I guess one trike went up and it was too rocky - unofficial.
The cranes need a tailwind to migrate south, and winds today are from the south.

The same link will show the migration - stay with us

Heather note to viewers 9-30
6:06am  Heather will leave this camera aimed at the pen and be at flyover site with portable camera and interupt this stream and broadcast from the flyover site. We viewers will have a brief lack screen.  We wont see cranes leave pen, but will see them begin to head south

Miles per leg
5 miles to Green Lake
14 miles to Marquette
28 miles to Columbia

Oct 1, 2013    Tuesday - no flying
A southwind again today - headwind, they wont be leaving today
An 8 mph southwind is a 16 mph headwind - no migration today.

If OM doesnt get out Wed it doesnt look good til next week

9-30 A deer came in the evening for a drink and a visit.  Cranes were curious, 2 of them displayed.

My Q and A with Heather Oct. 1

WHY does OM use expensive trikes training - when DAR (another crane habitat in Wisc) lets nature do its thing?

we can control where cranes winter
we monitor them all winter at location and have a better return rate
DAR has higher mortality
sometimes whoopers don't accept DAR chicks into their cohort and they end up following sandhills, or like last year ending up in South Carolina

if cranes learn route visually - isnt crating them detrimental?

crating for short distances seems to be ok based on past history
we try not to crate at all but sometimes it's necessary for one or two birds

if OM gets cranes to stop 1 tomorrow - weather may hold them there several days
isnt it better in this pen several days

it's better to get them into unfamiliar area
in the wild they would hunker down and wait for weather as well
Tomorrow looks really good at this point

Shep77  -  a 7 mile southwind is a 14 mph headwind when birds fly south
HeatherRayOM - like paddling a canoe upstream

Do whoopers only lay one egg?
do both parents raise young?

two eggs usually
only 1 chick typically survives. yes, both parents share duties

TnWrenFrend: Heather, does one chick usually kill the other as in some species?
HeatherRayOM: yes  siblicide is common. survival of the fittest.  typically the first to hatch survives


As it happened, there was chatroom discussion on this later on.

What is DAR
DAR (direct autumn release) Neceedah, Wisc. International Crane Foundation
DAR success is slightly less than OM's
DAR chicks are released on Horicon National Wildlife Refuge near ICF in fall
Dar sends the crane chicks to Necedah Wis shortly prior to release - when chicks are a few months old.

The DAR birds are costume reared like OM birds.  The difference is how they learn to imprint the migration route
The DAR birds are moved to holding pens in Necedah Wisc and released into the wild in the fall.
They hope they will be able to hook up with adult Whooping or Sandhill  cranes and learn the migration path.
Of course that is the hope, that they are able to follow and imprint the migratin path.  Adult Whoopers are not social like Sandhills and not always welcoming to the birds

There is a new program this year called PR or Parent Reared
These cranes are raised by their parents.  The difference is the parents are not wild birds.  
The colts will be taken away from them and released in the wild with the hopes they too can follow adults

I googled for mortality of whoopers and it seems to be inaccurate and largely guesswork.
If they lose one, its dead, essentially.  I forgot to save the other pages.

Which crane chicks go to who?
75% of the eggs will hatch
Chicks to UL project, DAR, Parent Rearing Experiment at Necedah, and to Louisiana with a few genetic holdbacks.
Sadly, every chick that hatches does not survive.
Half of the 2012 chicks didnt survive their first year.

Whooping Crane Nesting Update

Class of 2013 Pecking Order

Leg bands
1 female - white
2 female - Black
3 is Red - male
4 Male - Blue
5 Male - Yellow
7 is Orange - male
8 female  -  light blue - new band shows 14
9 Male - Green - new ban shows 24

Crane 8 female has a light blue leg band/transmitter.  She had to have hers removed because it quit transmitting. Her new band shows  14

Crane 9  Male has a GREEN leg band/transmitter.  His fell off on the runway Sept 22 on a training flight and was replaced Sept 27 by a new band which now reads 24

* As of January 2014 these colors are gone - replaced by new ones.

Oct 2, 2013    Wednesday - 7.45 am  THEY'RE OFF!    
6.30 we see first light on the horizon, the excitement is everywhere.
6.54  sunup
7.41  over 500 viewers
SM (swamp monster) may be on hand today.  Thats a person covered by a tarp with a LOUD air horn.
-  Someone said they used SM today, but no further news about that
Pilots are Brooke and Richard - Colleen and Geoff are the tumes

LEFT  -  Headin south with Brook!
RIGHT - FLYOVER!  2 are following Richard, the chase trike

7.45  Brooke arrives and takes off with the first 4 cranes
 -  In pic it looks like more than 4 left with Brooke, so some must have doubled back
- cam switches to the flyover site
7.54  flyover site several people waiting - including a pilot, Joe Duff - looks cold there
8.00 am  Brooke flies over with 4 cranes.  No pic, too far away
8:07 FirstDawn: RVH just left with the other four  (later in afternoon a mod said cranes kept breaking away)
8.15* about -  Richard flew over the flyover site with 2 cranes.  I got a pic

8.28 back at pen site cam - Richard and 4 birds - one landed and tripped, fell - cray said it hit the plane wing
-  mod deleted posts like crazy in chat - as if no one saw what happened.  get real mods!
8.34  cray posted he got a youtube video of plane-crane - mod deleted it before I could copy log
[REMOVED by MSWcrane]  (this was done over and over and over)

8:35 Shep77: cray - u sure of that?
crayj46: yes shep, i recorded it and just watched full screen
8:36 Shep77: I saw it fall hard - and had trouble getting back up
8:37 crayj46: it hit the trailing edge of the wing
8:37 Shep77: can u make  a utube of that for me - and email me the link?
8:38 crayj46: yes i can
8.40  -  the first 4 are safe at stop 1
4 cranes flew to the new 1st migration stop - #1, #7, #8 and #9
Crane 9  Male has a GREEN leg band/transmitter.  His fell off Sept 22 on a training flight and was replaced Sept 27 by a new band which now reads 24
Crane 8 female has a light blue leg band/transmitter.  She had to have hers removed because it quit transmitting. Her new band shows  14

8.52  #5 penned - Richard tried to take the other 3 to stop 1 but they wont fly, so they penned them too.
They crated all 4 cranes and hauled them to stop 1
9.10  The van that the crated chicks ride in arrives
Heather came on chat and I asked her if #5 is hurt, she said he was only hit by the strut - not hurt

Joe Duff here at pen site to help

10.46 am  All 8 cranes at the new site - Green Lake
BELOW - Brooke and Richards trikes on runway after Brooke delivered his 4 cranes to stop 1

Brooke flew back after dropping 4 cranes off

4 cranes crated
I dont have time to blog my notes - will do that late afternoon or so

The wing and crane #5 collided and the bird fell on the runway.
Whether hurt or not we dont know.  
This is the video of that episode, thanks to  crayj46
at 1.45 the crane hits the wing and falls down hard as plane lands on runway

VIDEOS October 2
crayj46 video  - at 1.45 the crane hits the wing and falls down hard.
cray had to DELETE his incident video due to nasty remarks by a former OM pilot
HEre is the new video

I SAW that and thot it tripped.  Mods kept deleting our observations.  That is WRONG.
Just post OM staff competent to handle crane if injured.  Dont delete our legitimate observations!

dawn, Leaving pen - flyover

Richard comes to flyer with 2 cranes but turns around and heads back to pen
cam swichtes back to pen and 4 stubborn cranes.  Brooke arrives to help
They crate the remaining 4 cranes - cam op wouldnt show this
OM crew breakdown the site for the winter

OM crew breakdown the site for the winter

Great video by Tom 'tume' Schultz -  THANK YOU!
His video is beautiful!  First Brook? with 4 cranes, then Richard? with 4 cranes.
The mods refused to tell us why Richard doubled back. I kept asking.  You can see what happened.  4 cranes followed to the flyover then peeled off and went home.
When I posted that in chat the mod had a fit.  She told me to stop posting what happened because I dont know.  Heather later wrote just what I said.  A couple mods and a couple guests are awful but the others are good.

RICHARD orange wing was the lead pilot Oct 2, not Brooke as reported all day.
First flyover first with his 4 cranes - they made it to first stop.
Uh well we thot the wing was red, Brooke, Heather report said this is Richard (orange)

I took the flyover pics off Toms' video

Oct 2, 2013    Wednesday evening
Heather posted this report Oct. 2 evening.  Yes it conflicts with what was reported all day long.
If Heather doesnt tell the mods and the rest of us WHO the lead pilot is, everyone gets it wrong.  I thot Brooke was lead - and so did the mods.
Therefore, which pilot is which gets a bit iffy in the confustion of Day 1 of migration!  Laugh here!
Sure looks like lead pilot wing is RED which would be Brooke, and the chase pilot wing looks yellow, which is Joe.  Richard's wing is orange.
You can see in Tom's photo at flyover the wing is YELLOW.  LOL!  Which is Joe's - but - Joe was on cam on the ground at the flyover!
We are told this is a typical first day of migration.  Now you know!  Think of the chaos for OM staff!

Posing as the Lead Pilot - Reported by Heather Ray
October 2, 2013  evening -  Location: Green Lake Co., Wisc

Since Richard van Heuvelen is currently busy helping Brooke change the wing on his aircraft, I’ll pinch hit for the lead pilot report.
(Clue to wing color?  LOL)
Richard launched with seven cranes this morning at 7:46 am. One crane was reluctant to exit the pen and Doug Pellerin who is currently sitting beside says he would bet it was #3-13.

After a couple minutes of flight, four of the cranes turned back and landed at the pen so Brooke told Richard to carry on with the four he had in hand to the first stopover, which is located a bit further south in Green Lake County and only 5 miles from the pen site.

Brooke tried repeatedly to convince the four young cranes that had turned back that it was time to begin the migration, and at one point, he even had them over the 30+ folks that had gathered at the Mile Rd. flyover site, but as soon as they passed, first one crane, then two others, and finally his fourth crane peeled off and flew the mile or so back to the pen.

It turns out the culprit was #5. No matter where Brooke led them to, he not only decided to turn back but he managed to convince the others they should join him.

Not wanting to give up the ideal weather conditions we had this morning, Brooke decided to give them a 20 minute rest on the runway and then try again but this time, with #5-13 in the pen. The hope was that with him out of the mix, the other three might be more inclined to cooperate. He launched one more time with the three remaining cranes only to have them turn back yet again when he reached the north end of the runway.

So the score turned out to be: Cranes 1-13, 7-13, 8-13 & 9-13 flew the 5 miles to the first stopover
and 2-13, 3-13, 4-13 & 5-13 arrived in wooden crates. (I hope they are duly embarrassed).

VIDEOS October 2
crayj46 video  - at 1.45 the crane hits the wing and falls down hard.
cray had to DELETE his incident video due to nasty remarks by a former OM pilot
HEre is the new video

I SAW that and thot it tripped.  Mods kept deleting our observations.  That is WRONG.
Just post OM staff competent to handle crane if injured.  Dont delete our legitimate observations!
He said a mod banned him for posting his observation.

Brooke got to the flyover later with the remaining 4 cranes and they peeled off and went home.
Well, we were told its Richard and the wing is yellow - but yellow is Joe - and Joe is on the GROUND! at the flyover

Oct 3, 2013    Thursday - RAIN!  
10.10 am  Live cam at new pen
#5  Yellow male crane  looks good, walking around.  He bowed to #1 - very cute!
#7 orange male rules the roost

All 8 cranes hatched within a week of each other mid-May 2013
About 4 pm cam is turned off overnite.

The same link will show the migration - stay with us

Miles per stop
5 miles to Green Lake, stop 1
14 miles to Marquette, stop 2
28 miles to Columbia Cty, Ill, stop 3

10-3 videos at Green Lake pen

#1  WHITE band  -  Female
#2  BLACK  - Female
#3  RED  leg band - Male
#4  BLUE  - Male
#5  YELLOW  -  Male
#7  ORANGE  - Male
#8  LITE BLUE leg band - Female
#9  GREEN  - Male

Oct 4, 2013    Friday - Green Lake Wis - RAIN!
And dont expect any flying over the weekend either
Its a union cam, folks - works 9-4 only, and even then depending on reception in area

Staying Put (and holding on)
Oct. 4, 2013  Friday - Report posted by  Heather
Very strong winds from the southwest will be moving through over the next 24-36 hours
bringing heavy rain and possible tornadic activity. We’ll be staying right where we are for now.

2 Tom Schultz October 2 videos on link.
First Richard van Heuvelen approaches with cranes 1, 7, 8 & 9 and flies past the public flyover.
Then Brooke Pennypacker with Whooping cranes 2, 3, 4 & 5 but just after he passes by, first one, then all of his cranes peeled away and went home.

Heather has a very nice report on tearing down the pen the cranes have used May thru Sept.
Sentimental pic at the end

Lead Pilot Report a la Simon & Garfunkel
Richard van Heuvelen
Hello daylight my old friend, I’ve come to fly with you again
because the fog silently creeping, came in while I was sleeping
and the vision of flying cranes still remains with in the blue sky

In restless dreams I flew alone in skies of hued stone
‘neath the halo of the moon I would fly to them soon
when my eyes were stabbed by the rising sun that split the night and touched the blue sky

And in the naked light i saw 8 birds maybe more
birds flying without leaving birds listening without hearing  
birds chirping in voices that were never shared and no one dared to disturb the blue sky

Fools said I we must go staying here we miss the show
see my trike that I might teach you take my wing that I might reach you
but my efforts like raindrops fell and echoed in the blue sky

Four birds bowed and stayed to the wing they made
and the sky flashed its warning to the pen that was forming
and we flew and flew to a new site we descend
on which we depend and whispered below the blue sky

Here is the original song

10-4 videos
The pen at migration stops is in areas with poor reception.  Dont expect much from videos

VIDEOs October 3 at first migration pen site

VIDEO October 2
crayj46 video - at 1.45 the crane hits the wing and falls down hard
Those 4 cranes were flying all over the place, not behind trike at all.
As Brooke landed it comes in from the left, there was nothing Brooke could do.
cray had to DELETE the original video link due to nasty remarks by a former OM pilot
This is the NEW url

OM team  -  Holy Cow Brooke is CUTE!

Oct 5, 2013    Saturday, Green Lake
Dawn weather forecast - NO FLY today - I checked the 3 Wis OM stops weather
Current location Green Lake - 10 mph SSE winds,  tstorms
Location 2 - Marquette - 12 mph N wind, tstorms
Location 3 - Columbia / Portage - SE wind, tstorms

8.00 am  Open for business  Smile
Heather tume appeared at pen site and turned cam on and gave us a new view of the other side of the pen.
That is a short piece of lattice the cranes can walk around.
corn cobs were tossed about
lots of wingercizing

Oct. 5, 2013 Heather report
The low pressure system which has brought rain and winds since Thursday is still parked over Wisconsin and still dishing out wind and rain. We’ll be parked for another day.
Meanwhile the Class of 2013 Whooping cranes are enjoying the rain as it softens the ground and makes poking in the mud a good pass time. They have also been poking at pumpkins, squash and watermelons.

Jo-Anne Bellemer
Once I got to go in the pen with the chicks.
Joe had told the other handlers that he wanted them to get me in the pen with the birds so that I would be ready if I needed to step in.  
Migration days can be very unpredictable and everyone must be ready to handle just about anything.
Read Jo's experience in the pen.  You will feel like you were there with her.

Oct 6, 2013    SONday  Still in Green Lake
Female crane #8 light blue band is limping noticably.  Heather and Brooke are keeping a close eye on her.
12.50 pm  Brooke went in the pen with Geoff to check on her

#8F is limping.  They'll give her a dose of piroxicam for swelling and pain

Looks Can Be Deceiving
Oct. 6 by Heather
This morning those of us that were awake were being cautiously optimistic that we’d be able to get the next leg of the migration underway.
On the surface it was calm and there was even a hint of sun coming up – something we’ve not seen since Wednesday.
The weather stations revealed the real story however. At 2500 feet, winds are out of the southwest and too strong to attempt the 14 mile flight to Marquette County.

7.45 am Oct. 2 OM left home pen for Green Lake Wisc.
10.46 am a mod reported in the chatroom that all 8 cranes at the new site - Green Lake.
Thats 3 hours before we were told the 4 flyers arrived.
It did NOT take the 4 that long to fly that 5 miles.  The trikes only carry 3 hours of fuel.
Joe Duff's Oct 6 report gives us a clue why 4 cranes turned back home on Oct 2.

Hurry Up & Wait
Joe Duff, OM pilot  Oct 6, 2013  

Setting a target date for the start of the migration is like telling the boss what you are going to do and when.
The boss in our case is the weather and it will tell us if we will leave.
Day-one (for migrating) was perfect. The air was calm and there was a very gentle push out of the north.
That mysteriously turned into a head wind but the first site was only a few miles away so it made little difference.
LOTs of details on link.

September 12, 2011 by Joe Duff and Sept 13 by Caleb
This is a story about how difficult things can get with the birds

Oct 7, 2013    Monday,  Still in Green Lake    
4.00 am  I dont like what I see in weathercast.
South winds Tue-Wed so unlikely they will fly for awhile longer.
We are not getting a signal and so no movement in video.

#8 is still limping and they are still treating her with grapes loaded with piroxicam for swelling and pain

Any news on the one limping yesterday-  #8?
9:10 am - HeatherRayOM: no change, it's quite common, treating with anti-inflamatories for a few days
9:16 Shep77: extra grapes for Miss Pris
9:17 HeatherRayOM: she's the grape hound of the bunch. Always trying to steal everyone elses. It'll be easy to treat with medicated grapes

Still Stuck
Oct. 7, 2013  report by Heather
The heading to our 2nd migration stop is southwest. The winds are currently blowing from the northwest at 15-20 mph aloft,
which means a good steady crosswind if we were to attempt a flight today. We’ll be stuck here for another day.

The young cranes travel pen is quite large to give them space to explore.
The trailer (right) forms the base for the enclosure and has a door that opens into the pen and one
at the front near the trailer hitch that costumes can enter to gain access to the 50 gal. water tank and the feed storage bin.
There is a topnet on the enclosure which attaches to the sides of the pen held up by two tall posts.
There are several feed containers on the sides of the pen, as well as a few water buckets and water dishes.

The fencing or lattice that you can see in the middle of the enclosure is to allow a place for subservient birds to escape any aggressive birds.
Fortunately, this is not an issue with this year’s cohort but it’s there just in case.
The entire structure is surrounded by two strands of hotwire immediately adjacent the panels,
and a third, set back approximately 15ft outside to deter the local wildlife from approaching the pen.
The entire structure can be set-up and dismantled in about 45 minutes by two people.

10-7 videos
VIDEOS are still posted, sometimes they appear like a slide show because reception is not good in area

Oct 8, 2013    Tuesday NO FLY, Still in Green Lake  
South winds thru Saturday so they may not fly til Sunday
Heather said #8 is doing better
8.30 am  I saw #8 walking and no sign of a limp
The whooplets have learned to drink from the pans- not dump them.
They will wash their food in those foot pans.
They also have water hung around the fence too.

2013 Cranes Whooperlympics Games
Oct. 8, 2013  Jo-Anne Bellemer

Rumor has it it started with a few peeps from bored #2-13…  “Hey! Let’s play a game!  How about Monopoly?  Or Snakes & Ladders?”
Of course, male #5 thought that was a pretty lame idea!  “Are you nuts?!? We can’t all fit around a board game!  Look at the size of us now for crying out loud!”

The debate apparently continued until Lady #1 announced (in her dominant voice), “We will host the Fall Whooperlympics Games of 2013!  We’ve been training all summer for them and we obviously have time, those white blobs don’t seem to want to take us anywhere.  Now go get your gear – the first event starts tomorrow morning promptly at 7am’ish when the CraneCam is live!”

I remember noticing the birds scurrying around, gathering up frogs and grasshoppers and a couple of sticks, and I wondered why they were stashing them in the pen trailer instead of eating them or tossing them around.
The sun rose the next morning and I saw the birds pacing around the pen trailer and swore I heard them peeping things like “OK, remember to keep your eye on the frog” and “I’ll pass you the snake on the left side”. When Heather activated the CraneCam, I noticed that the birds seemed to march around the pen perimeter.   In retrospect, I realized this must have been the opening ceremonies!  
And I’m pretty sure I heard #1 peep “Let the Games begin!”.

It looked like the girl birds were taking on the boy birds, but one of the boys had been recruited by the girls team to even up the sides.
Just as I was trying to discern which bird would break away and ultimately decide whether the boys or the girls would win the Whooperlympics, I felt a nudge and heard a voice in the distance.  It was Heather saying “Roll over, Jo, you’re snoring AGAIN.”
Dang!  Now I’ll never know the outcome!  But as I rolled over and fell back to sleep, I thought to myself, “Girls rule and boys drool…  zzzzzzz….”.
Jo-Anne Bellemer
Please click link and read her whole report.  Its really cute.

10-7 videos
VIDEOS are still posted, sometimes they appear like a slide show because reception is not good in area
cam video frozen most of the time.  Problems with their 2 car batteries.  Sad
Here you see them running and flapping and peeping in the early morning.

Oct 9, 2013    Weday  NO FLY, Still in Green Lake      

Dear John
October 9 by Brooke, OM pilot
If you really want to understand another person, follow them to the bathroom.
The porta potty’s spring loaded door slams shut with such ferocity that every morning our camp sounds like the first day of hunting season.

The H n J show Oct. 8
Oragami of cranes flying - in the shape of a - WISHbone
Heather shows us their RV home and CraneCamp 10 miles from cranes - and answers questions.
A crane has 3 toes and a thumb.  The cranes arent far from Volk airfield.
Canada cranes have begun to migrate south. Height of cranes measured up to top of head.
A complaint in chat they cant hear Heather.  Turns out her sound wasnt ON.
I couldnt hear this QnA live, it kept breaking up, but the video sound works fine.
The squeeking in the background are redwing blackbirds.

Fall Migration 2013

Field Journal, daily entries by OM travelers


Meet each chick
This also has DAR information

Rips from the chatroom Oct 8
8:59pm  Wolphie: coming to 'reality tv' in Norway: 5 hours of live knitting!  

Some in the chatroom are extremely rude.  Just ignore them. tommy is the worst

Oct 10, 2013    Thursday, Still in Green Lake  
The birds got 40 or 45 minutes flying in today  - just so they dont forget how!  Smile

6 am - OM Field journal - While out of the south-southeast, winds are very light on the surface. Aloft at 3000 ft they are less than 10 knots.
There is a bit of fog that we’ll have to wait out but as soon as it’s light, and the fog dissipates, we’ll be putting up an aircraft to check conditions.

7.30 am at the hangar  -  370 viewers
Brooke and Richard are pilots, cam is on Brooke's aircraft
7.57 am Brooke lands briefly, pen gate opens, and cranes are out and they're off
8:02 HeatherRayOM: richard has 3 brooke as 5
8:10 HeatherRayOM: bp has 6 again, rvh 2
8:14 HeatherRayOM: one of Brookes birds keeps turning back
8:17 HeatherRayOM: I think Brooke said its #7 - others followed #7
8.21 am  All 8 cranes are flying behind Brooke and Richard.
8:26 HeatherRayOM: We're down. One kept turning back. don't want to risk losing it or any others
8:27 HeatherRayOM: Brooke is back at stop 1 with 4. 2 landed in next field. RvH heading back with his 2
#7 is the most dominent male
8:35 HeatherRayOM:  4 in pen. 2 in field behind pen. RvH on his way back with 2

10:37 jobellemer: 2 had to be crated and taken back to Green Lake
We did not have a pen cam today.

HeatherRayOM: Pls keep in mind we're streaming from a moving aircraft via cellular card.
Signal WILL fluctuate and we will lose feed occasionally. Thks for your patience

Whooping Cranes migrating from Wisconsin to Florida, flying behind the trikes (flying lawn mower!)

Heather update 11.00 am
The cranes had approximately 45 minutes of flying time. Unfortunately, it was mostly in circles.
Brooke was today’s lead pilot and he launched with 6 cranes. 3 & 9 didn’t quite make it out in time.
Richard circled above and picked them up, along with one other that had broke from Brooke.

After quite a few minutes, Richard had two cranes: #3 and 9, and Brooke had six.
They were just about to head on course to the next destination when Brooke reported #7 kept turning back.
He made a couple of attempts to catch up to him, but two others would break off to join #7.

Eventually, two landed in a nearby hay field, Brooke returned to the pen with 4 and Richard continued to the next stop with his 2 birds.
5 miles out from the next location he saw a fog bank ahead, so he decided to return to the Green Lake stop.

By this time his birds had been airborne for more than 40 minutes and they decided they didn’t want to fly anymore so Richard and his 2  birds landed in a remote field.
Joe Duff and Doug Pellerin headed out in the tracking van to place them in the crates of shame for the ride back to the first stopover.

OM Pilot Talks Weather
Oct 10, 2013  pilot Joe Duff
 (edited by me, read link.  This is VERY informative.  Thanks Joe)
Our migration is a lot like a reality show. An eclectic group of diverse characters all thrust together in tight quarters, alternating between stress and boredom. The pause has stretched to a week.  The winds are strong out of the south.

Early morning discussions are more conflicted than ever.
Whooping cranes fly at around 38 miles per hour so a twenty knot headwind right on the beak can be as discouraging for the birds as paddling up stream.

It’s not that we are afraid of bumps. The aircraft can easily handle them and so can the birds, but together we need smooth air so they can surf off the wingtip, and catch a ride similar to the way they would ride thermals in the wild.

Winds on the surface tend to tumble over obstacles like trees and hills. That causes low-level turbulence that keeps the bird from getting any benefit from our wingtips. The problem is to keep them following long enough to climb above the rough air and reach the smooth flying above.
Often they will drop below the aircraft and loose the precious altitude we worked so hard to gain.
When this happens, their first inclination is to turn back.
On occasion we have spent an hour or more trying to collect the birds, get them headed in the right direction
and climb into the smooth air we know is just a few hundred feet higher.

For us, a perfect morning is calm and cold.  The birds learn to fly on the wake created by the aircraft wing.
The temperature is important because cold air is denser than warm air. All the particles in cold air are packed more tightly together.
The birds inhale more oxygen with each breath and have something more solid to push against with each wing beat.

The dew point is also important to consider. Warm air can hold more moisture but as it cools, that water condenses in the form of clouds or fog.
Lately, the humidity levels here has been around 80 percent. If the temperature is, say 45 degrees and the dew point is 43,
that means the air has to cool by only 2 degrees before the moisture in it condenses and fog obscures our take off.

The wind speed and direction is the next factor we consider.  Of course, if it is blowing from the wrong direction, that ends the discussion quickly.
At first light in the morning, the winds on the surface are often calm but winds aloft can be moving in any direction.  
A tailwind can push us along and increase the speed we are making over the ground but there must be a smooth transition
between the layer above that is moving, and the stationary layer on the surface. Often the friction between the two causes a turbulent zone
a few hundred feet thick and we are back to that situation when birds get discouraged and turn back.

Oct 12-13 2013    NO FLY
Strong south winds, lightning - Still in Green Lake
Turns out the problem bird Thursday was #5 again, not #7.
Will OM hold #5 back when the other 7 migrate?
If so, will they crate him - or use a 3rd trike to lead him 10 minutes after the other 7 are gone?

Stormy Night
Oct. 12, 2013  by Captain Heather

It Was a Dark & Stormy Night which continued into early morning. The rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning accompanied by strong winds will prevent us from advancing today.  This marks day 10 at the first migration stop and means we’ve tied the record for number of down days at this location with the 2011 migration. We certainly don’t want to break the record so here’s hoping we can get out of here tomorrow!

10-10-13 video Brooke takeoff from Green Lake pen with the cranes
Video shot by delightful volunteer Jo-Anne Bellemer
Jo?  Dear - you shoulda got the landings too!

2 cranes had to be crated back to GL today.  I guess they flew about 40 minutes.
2F black, 3M red, 4M blue & 5M yellow were crated Oct 2 - and 3M red and 9M green was crated Oct. 10

10-10 videos

Oct 13, 2013   NO FLY Sunday
NO cam today
Winds are too strong from the west, which means we’ll be staying put for the 11th day at Green Lake 1st migration stop and breaking the record for the longest period of time at the first stop. - Heather Ray

Whooping Cranes migrating from Wisconsin to Florida, flying behind the trikes (flying lawn mower!)

Operation Migration Safeguarding Whooping cranes
This is the haunting song - forgotten

Field journal - Writings by the pilots, photos

October videos
Oct 9, 2013 video of flying with cranes
Captured with a wingtip mounted GoPro camera, pilot Joe Duff takes the 4 month old Whooping crane colts on a flight over White River Marsh State Wildlife Area.

Oct 14, 2013    Monday   Flew to Marquette, STOP 2  
5 am  FROST, Heather hopes for a GO today, patch fog
14 miles from Green Lake to Marquette, stop 2
Pilots Brooke (lead) and Richard (chase)
7:15 am  Colleen & Geoff are tumes going to pen
7:26 am  at the  hanger
400 viewers

7.52 am  Brooke lead pilot trike takes off from the hanger
8:10 HeatherRayOM: Joe and Doug in tracking van
8:10 HeatherRayOM: Colleen and Geoff heading to the pen to prepare panels to open
8:10 HeatherRayOM: brooke coming in on final

8.12   brief landing at pen to pick up cranes
8:13 HeatherRayOM: - 8 up - looking good
8:15 HeatherRayOM:  they're following good, 2 left/6 right
8:18 HeatherRayOM: still 2 left/6 right, all 8 birds are with Brooke
8:25 Shep77: u can see shadow of cam - and the other trike - on Brooke LOL

8:48 LizCondie: for the record - 28 min flight, no turn backs
Takeoff about 8.12 - now its 8.46

ALL eight Whooping cranes flew the 14 miles to our Marquette County, WI stopover and are now safely inside their travel pen.
Brooke was today’s lead pilot and he covered the distance with two off his left wing and six off his right wing – Picture perfect!
The Canadians on the team give thanks on this, our Canadian Thanksgiving.
Heather Ray

It’s a GREAT Day to Migrate with Whooping Cranes!
Oct. 14, 2013
- 6 am Winds are currently light and out of the northeast (YAY!). Everyone is ready to take cranes to STOP 2, Marquette County, Wisconsin.

Save this link to follow the birds!
Miles per leg
5 miles to Green Lake, stop 1

14 miles to Marquette, stop 2
28 miles to Columbia  stop 3
38 miles to Green Co  stop 4
34 miles to  Winnebago Illinois  stop 5

Weather USA LOOP

The migrating birds map their route by looking below

Oct 14 video by Tom Schultz of cranes leaving Green Lake pen [/b]

Past videos you may enjoy watching

10-14-13  SUCCESS!  crayj46

10-6-13  #8 Limping   crayj46

crayj46 videos

Oct 15, 2013    Tuesday RAIN   Marquette, STOP 2  
I am so HAPPY these birds FINALLY made it to stop #2!
Now they have a copule days of RAIN - should fly Thursday hopefully.

A BIG Green Blob of rain will keep OM grounded today

Oct. 14, 2013  Brooke
Pennypacker  (Edited by me, please click link to read)
If Brooke doesn’t get those birds to follow today, we’re boxing HIM to the next stop!

My two recent migration attempts, known to all as “Brooke’s Flights to Nowhere” have not gone unnoticed.
They don’t cut you much slack around here, I can tell you. Tough crowd!

Thanks to a great release (of the cranes) this morning by Geoff and Colleen and great aerial save by Richard.
Frosty cold morning temps and calm winds as we launched into the clear morning air.  

We drifted over a landscape awash in fall color. “Leaf people.  Eat your heart out!”
The birds seemed to get it as they fell into the almost hypnotic rhythm of flight.  Then, #3 (red, male) dropped into his all too familiar position below the wing in the “flaparama zone,” where every effort is an exhausting uphill climb without the aid of the wing lift. Not the way to get a passing grade on a whooper intelligence pop quiz.  Soon his elevator hit the down button and along with his buddy #7  (orange, dominant male), he drifted back towards Richard.
Soon the birds were in the pen (at stop 2).  Bad weather moving in.  
At least I’ve managed to postpone my “Date with the Crate” at least until the next time I lead.

The Sounds of Nature
Birds, frogs and insects have either vanished or drastically changed their migration patterns
A relatively new study known as biophony, or the signature of collective sounds that occur in any given habitat at any given time, has provided scientific evidence to show that the sounds of nature have been altered by both global warming and human endeavors.
"Biophony is changing," bioacoustician and founding father of the research, Bernie Krause, said. "What was present 20 years ago or so has changed so radically that you wouldn't recognize the habitat from its voice of 20 years ago."

Still Got it
Oct. 15, 2013  Geoff the tume
Our birds haven’t been on top of their game recently.  I can remember when all eight birds came out of the pen, raring to go and flying with the trike for half an hour.  But those aren’t the birds I’ve been watching recently.  In September, 2, 3, 5 and 9 just stopped flying altogether, they just stopped trying. They’d turn back and land on the runway. They wouldn’t stay up with the trike for very long.  Some mornings #3 and 9 couldn’t be bothered to come out of the pen with the other birds.  On the morning of the start of our migration, 3 wouldnt leave the pen. He made the first leg of the migration trapped in a little wooden box, peeping and squeaking wondering what he did wrong.

Even 4 who I thought was our ace flier started getting the same bad habits the others had. Ultimately, he was one of the four birds we had to box to the first stop.

We all hoped that by moving a stop, we would take them to unfamiliar territory, where the only thing they would recognize and latch onto was the friendly trike but last Wednesday would prove otherwise.  Number 5 kept turning back, dragging ace flier 7 with him.  Cranes 3 and 9 stayed in the pen and didn’t come out with the other birds and chose to stay behind as Brooke took off.  Ultimately, we had to call it quits before we could reach our second migration stop and 3 and 9 had to be boxed back to the pen.

As I released the birds (to Brooke from GL Oct 14), Colleen and I kept our swamp monsters handy,
knowing 5 would want to turn back as soon as he felt he was out of his comfort zone.
All I was waiting for was the word from Brooke to come out of the trailer.  It was a call that would never come.
All 8 birds flew to Marquette County. It was the first time I had seen the cranes I remembered from the golden days of summer.
Geoff Tarbox,  volunteer costumed bird handler

Thanks Geoff, that answers some of my questions.
Reading his full report you can see how much he loves the birds.

BACKPACKS  -  My note
4, 7 & 9 got backpacks in Sept
which didnt work and they were removed
Could this have been part of the reason?  
Sep. 19, 2013 report by Joe Duff / Heather

Oct 16, 2013    Wednesday  RAIN  Marquette, Wisc  STOP 2  
Down Day #2 in Marquette County
Heather reports -  Patchy rain and winds will keep us in place.
Tomorrow they are supposed to shift to northwest.

OM pilot and speaker, Joe Duff wrote an article today for the fj

Oct 17, 2013  Marquette to Columbia, Wisc  STOP 3    
6 am - HeatherRayOM -  going to try
Richard lead pilot

Looks Like a GO!
Oct. 17, 2013
 Thursday, Heather Ray
It looks like we may have a break in the weather today so everyone is rushing about getting ready to go or to at least put an aircraft up to check conditions. Winds are light out of the west and its 41 degrees. There may be some patchy fog to wait out but shouldn’t be anything major or inhibit us from reaching our Columbia Co., Wisconsin stop – the 3rd migration stopover.
We’ll be trying to stream on two channels today so be sure to check out the action LIVE. One CraneCam will be from the ground and the other will stream from lead pilot Richard van Heuvelen’s aircraft:

7.22 am  approx  the cranes left Marquette
cam froze almost right away
8:17 ruckus2 / Featherface - Text from Hed -- Chicks on the ground in Columbia County, stop 3

Happy Dance
Oct. 17, 2013
(I think Heather posted this for lead pilot Richard)
It was a dark and dreary morning with extensive cloud cover and a hazy sky. The air was relatively calm so we decided to go for it.
The trike rose above the trees with 8 chicks eagerly climbing with the wing.  
The climb was slow in the damp dark air and it took about 15 miles into the flight to get reasonable altitude above the turbulent air below.
At about ten miles out from our next stop #3 began flying in his usual spot under the wing and would not get back up on top.
Every time I tried to maneuver under it he would tuck his head down and dive below the wing, resulting in loss of altitude and putting us back into turbulent air.

Five miles out and with the field in view, we slowly began loosing altitude – pulling the bar in, we began a nice glide for the next field,
which seemed to help keep #3 following and gave all of the birds a break.
Steadying the wing as best as could be done we cut through the now turbulent air around some small clouds hanging in the air.
We circled the field and landed with all eight cranes safely on the ground.

After putting the birds away, Brooke and I took off into the air for a little happy dance in the sky
while on our way to the local airport to put up the trikes and
wait for the rest of the crew to arrive before setting off for Green county to put a pen at our next stop.

Oct. 17, 2013
- Migration Day: 16
Dist. Traveled: 28 miles
Total Dist.  47 miles to date
Current Location:  Columbia County, WI
Joe Duff reports the flight lasted 42 minutes and all 8 burds were locked onto Richard.

Another successful flight with all eight young Whooping cranes sticking with lead pilot Richard van Heuvelen for the entire 28 miles.
Joe Duff and Doug followed below in the tracking van ready to be called upon if needed, however, they ended up having a leisurely ride the entire trip.
Richard, Geoff and Colleen are now en-route to our next stopover in Green County, (the last Wisc. stop #4) to set up the other travel pen so his lead pilot report will be a bit later than usual. Check below for some images of the picture perfect take-off from Marquette County and bit later for the lead pilot report from Richard.

Oct 18-19, 2013   NO FLY  Columbia, Wisc  STOP 3  
The winds will keep OM grounded today.
8.30 am  The pen cam is ON and we can hear sandhill cranes and crows.
   All our cranes are walking around very well, feisty.  Two of them had a flap-off.
All sounds around can be heard clearly, even when a tume coughs!  Shocked

Smile   NOTE from the chatroom
Oct. 18
- Wolphie posted -  One of the Siberian cranes that Russian President Vladimir Putin helped teach to fly south last year lost its flock along the way, but has been found and brought to Moscow.

Oct 19   Trike at airport.  They tried it but winds too strong, NO FLY
7.40 am  hangar -  Richard went up to test winds aloft, headwinds too strong

My observations
Its cold out there - 30 - 40F degrees.
Several cranes standing on one leg.
I have not seen any lie down on migration.  They used to.

Next stopover #4 in Green County offers departure flyover views of the migration.  Watch Field Journal for date as the cranes and planes depart Wisconsin for Illinois.

The Great 8
Oct. 19, 2013  Jo-Anne Bellemer re-caps Oct. 17
th  from her perspective
All 8 birds took off perfectly Oct. 17th and flew to the next stop without ever dropping off the lead trike, flown by Richard!
OK, #3 still has a bad habit of moving forward and flying under the trike’s wing, so had to work a lot harder, and all 8 whoopers landed with Richard in Columbia County, WI.
The moment during the flight that Richard gives the “all clear”, meaning he is definitely NOT bringing the birds back to Marquette County, Heather and I head down the runway and help with disassembling the pen. Colleen and Geoff are already there taking it down.
It only took 30 minutes. Read the whole report on link

Oct 20, 2013    SONday, Columbia, Wisc  STOP 3  NO FLY      
Winds too strong, NO FLY.  Cold, around 30F
Down Day #3 - Westwinds aloft are 15-20 knots and a thick blanket of fog is over the area.
Our Whooping cranes will spend another day poking in their harvested soybean field for leftover beans,
which they shake violently before splitting them open.

10-19  videos

Story of Dizzy, the wandering crane
She was hatched in 2003

The way this story was related in chat was extremely confusing so I am calling her Dizzy
In 2013 she laid eggs but abandoned them, and 2 of her offspirng are in OM class of 2013 - siblings #2 female black band and #5 male yellow
This class of 13 has 2 offspring from the OM class of 2003

Here is her story, but its extremely confusing.  Have some tea!

Whooping Crane eastern parterns

Massive Mystery Moose die-off

Oct 21, 2013   Monday, Columbia, Wisc  STOP 3  NO FLY  
WIND, the other 4 letter word, will keep us grounded for the fourth day in Columbia County, Wisconsin

Clouds, thermals, updrafts and a good migration day
Oct. 21, 2013
Pilot Joe Duff  (excerpted, read link)
Birds use thermals (rising air) to soar.
As the sun heats the earth, some patches get warmer than others. The air above those areas begins to expand as the temperature increases and warm air rises.  
On the surface there might be only a degree or two difference between the warm area and the cold, but it is enough to get things moving.

It starts out like a large chimney of air moving slowly upward but as it gets farther from the surface, the surrounding air is colder and its speed increases. Whooping cranes and other soaring birds can feel that difference so they circle around inside the thermal gaining free altitude with each rotation. When birds do this it’s call kettling but glider pilots call it coring the thermal.

Warm air can also hold more moisture. As the thermal, now surrounded with cold air, begins to cool, the moisture is forced out and often forms a cloud. Those lovely sunny days with the small puffy clouds are the result.  The sun provides the heat to get the thermals working, and at a specific altitude, their moisture condenses and the sky becomes dotted with balls of cotton. That’s a good migration day especially if the wind is blowing in the direction the birds are heading.


Back in 2011 the FAA gave OM a big headache.  This is the story, as far as I can tell

Oct 22, 2013  
From Columbia to Green Co  stop 4, the last Wisconsin stop

2 cranes flew, 6 had a rodeo all over and had to be crated
7.30 am  OM putting a trike up to see if they can fly today.
7.41 am - waiting for sun to pop so frost wont form on wings
Lou flying chase (top cover) plane, which can tell pilots where birds are and who has them or if one lands can give it's location. can also spot and radio to other nearby planes

8.05 ? - just after 8 am Brooke took all 8 cranes out flying
8:06  gorgoeus fly-over!
8:06  Heather said there goes Lou in chase plane  
8.11  Featherface: All 8 took off with lead pilot Brooke
8.25  Heather said Brooke has 5 - Richard trying to corral his 3
8:28 Heather said each one has four birds
8:40  Brooke has 5 birds, still in pen area, Rich on course with 3

8.45  Rich doin well with his 3 birds heading to Green Co - stop 4
8:46  Brooke has one bird that keeps wanting to go back to pen
8:49  H waiting to tear down pen, to see if a bird or two needs to be crated
8:49  Brooke still has 5 birds - out of pen sight - making progress
8:59  Richard has 3 on the way to Green County, Brooke has 5 giving 1 is him problems.  H thinks #3 is the problem
8:59  Heather says on course and on route!
9.00 am clear to take pen down!  YES! its a GO for sure, ALL 8 birds are on their way to Green County

9:22  rain-snow on radar just barely west of where cranes are flying
10.15 am  We have had NO OFFICIAL word if the cranes have landed.
- Mods posted 3 cranes flew to Green, but later that was seen to be false.

10:46 Shep - danette, did you see Richard land with 3 cranes today??
10:47 danette - yes i saw first trike, with 2 birds and then he took off again
Shep - I imagine Richard made sure those 2 were in pen before taking off

10:51 ruckus UPDATE from Colleen -  5 of the birds are being boxed to next stop (Green Co)
12:53 ruckus2: Quote from Heather - 6 dropouts at 3 locations. Busy day

3.30 pm posted in fj by Heather
2 cranes made it the 39 miles to Green County, Wisc. with Richard.
6 others dropped out in 3 locations between Lodi and Middleton.
All have been collected and are now either at the new site or on their way.

Oct 22, 2013  Brooke Pennypacker

(Pilots Brooke and Richard handled the rodeo - OM term for cranes gone wild needing roundup.
I just KNEW they took a chance cuz of all the down time.)

The sign at the diner read “Drink coffee” and so I do.
Trouble is, if you later find yourself shakin in the seat of an ultralight leading cranes across a sub-freezing autumn sky for a couple of hours, you wish ...

Today’s migration “event” proved that migration is a team sport.
The morning conditions were iffy but made seductively attractive by our long stint of down time, so off we went.

But some mornings, like this one, after about the first 15 minutes, you just wish you stayed in bed as the cranes fall in and out of formation, fly well one minute and poorly the next.  Up and down, round and round in the turbulence we went and a fun time was NOT had by all.  Dropouts here, pickups there, lots of frustrated communications and effort and challenges mini and maxi , punctuated by some of the most bizarre situations I have experienced.

The important thing is, at the end of the day all 8 birds as well as the crew are safely at the next stop and madly preparing for the next morning’s migration attempt, beginning of course, with a cup of coffee so we can do it all again.

Hoping for a two-fer!
NE Winds are supposed to be 5mph in the morning so we may be saying goodbye to Wisconsin tomorrow.
Be at the flyover shortly after sunrise - 7:20 am and dress warmly

What a Day
Oct. 22 Green County, Wisconsin  Dist. Traveled: 39 miles.
2 cranes flew to Green County with Richard, 6 others dropped out in 3 locations

Oct 23-24, 2013   Green Co  stop 4, the last Wisconsin stop

Pilots feel it’s just a bit too breezy to risk a flight this morning.

Whooping Cranes find Safe Haven at Pope Farm Conservancy
October 22, 2013  Several Whooping Cranes decided to visit Pope Farm Conservancy.
The cranes went off-course this morning.

#1 female flew and landed with Richard, per Heather
HeatherRayOM: I know we retrieved #8 and Jo and Joe picked up #3 and the other four included 7 and 9
There is a photo of Brooke with 4 cranes in a field - 2 of them are 5 and 9, one is either 7 or 3 and I cant see leg band of 4th

Oct 24, 2013  Green Co , stop 4  NO FLY
This will be down day #2 in Green County, Wis, winds are too strong.
Be sure to check the 2013 Image Gallery to see some photos from Tuesday (Oct 22) adventure!

Hardest Thing
Oct. 24, 2013  by OM pilot Brooke

What’s the hardest thing about flying with birds?
The hardest thing about flying with birds is NOT flying with birds!
Standing down due to unfavorable weather conditions day after day gets very old.
At least you have a remote to reach for.  We don’t and it’s frustrating.
But such is the nature of migration. Truth is, we are down more than we are up and it is a luxury indeed when we fly more than two days in a row.  One year we actually flew 7 days in a row.
Brooke Pennypacker (edited, click link)

For when OM leaves stop 4, NEW flyover Green Co stop 4 to Winnebago (Rockford) Illinois  stop 5

Follow chatroom or field journal

Flew 34 miles from Green Co to Winnebago (Rockford) Illinois stop 5 [/b]
7.15 am  temp 23 calm winds on surface.
They took off just after 8.20 am today
8.20 am  Richard lead pilot, Brooke chase pilot, Lou in cover plane, a Cessna 185
8.31 am  Richard said #3 is in the lead
9.41 on ground, All 8 birds flew with Richard the whole way!  Beautiful!
10.00 pm   All 8 birdies safe in the pen in Winnebago IL

Oct. 25   At 9:40  Joe texted to say that all the cranes and both pilots were on the ground in Winnebago County, Illinois!
All 8 Whooping cranes followed Richard for the entire 34 mile flight.

10-25  videos
DAWN - Heather ground cam

10-25 jorgey video of flight to Winnebago

10-25 video of landing at Winnebago ILL
All 8 Whooping cranes off Richard’s right wingtip.
Photo: Jo-Anne Bellemer
Whooping Cranes Arrive Illinios.  The two Joe’s arrived in the tracking van minutes before Richard appeared over the trees with the 8 young Whooping cranes.
Jo-Anne Bellemer was able to capture the landing for us to share with you…

1 hour and 15 minute flight Oct. 25 from Wis to Winnebago.
Next stop is 55  miles to LaSalle, Stop 6

OM Lead Pilot Richard van Heuvelen Report Oct. 25
The take off was a little rough but with a little patience we were soon on course for Winnebago county, Illinois.
All eight birds off the right wing in a nice neat row. The slow climb into the sunrise had us in smooth air.
Although the ground speed was slow, the flight was uneventful and after an hour twenty minutes
we descended into our next stop in Illinois. All eight birds off the right wing for the entire flight.

10-25  Richard with cranes videos
flight video

8 birds arrive safe at Winnebago new pen

10-25  OM videos
Heather ground cam dawn

All 8 Whooping cranes off Richard’s right wingtip.
 by Jo-Anne Bellemer. click link

Oct 27-28, 2013    Winnebago   NO FLY  
Flying looks impossible thru Friday, Winds are too unsteady to attempt to depart.

OM new trike
Pilot Joe Duff
was in chat Oct 27 talking about their new trikes, but no one has a transcript.

Winds aloft too trashy, stay another day at Windybago
Pilots tried it, cranes got out to fly about 24 minutes.

Partly cloudy, calm winds fog early, SW to 15 mph later, temp 32F
Watch the CraneCam channels action LIVE

HeatherRayOM - having issues starting ustream channel. View here for ground cam

7.25  Brooke lead and Richard chase pilot
7.32  That must be chase plane
7.41  must be a 2 minute lag between ustream and WE
7.47  both trikes in the air - testing - not looking good
7.51  birds out, all 8 on Brooke, there goes Lou
8.08  no go - coming back
8.14  landed back at Winnepen
7.51 to 8.14 flight - 24 minutes

Shortly after launching with all 8 cranes conditions aloft deteriorated.
The results were that they had a 30 minute flight exercise and returned to their travel enclosure.

Oct. 27, 2013 volunteer Geoff Tarbox described these cranes on August 14th.
He really loves each crane and I love reading what he writes.
I added my own observations since they began migration.

Crane 1  FEMALE  -  WHITE band
The alpha female, the Diva, the queen of the group.  Some call her Dora the explorer.
She was not afraid to chase off the 2 yearlings from last year if they get too close.

Chick 2  FEMALE  black band  
The space cadet and often seems off in her own world.

Chick 3  MALE -  RED band
Impressionable. Brooke recalls him being an attentive follower to the costume and the trike.
During summer, sometimes he'd lay down on the runway during a training session.
That was last summer.  On migration he's been in the "flapparama zone".
Evidently Oct 25 he spent some time in the lead.  Good boy.  He's learnin.
October 29  Heather described #3 as "a nut."
Nov. 29 - #3 is being a real problem child.

Chick 4 MALE blue band
He got back pack transmitter 9-14 which had to be removed after a couple days.
Attentive to the costume and to the trike until late September when they changed.
On migration he is a good flier now, after being crated Oct 2, the first stop.

Chick 5 MALE YELLOW band Nov. 2013
Attentive to the costume and to the trike until late September when they changed.
The first day of migration he was all over the place, wouldnt follow trike, finally had to be crated.
He holds his own in the pen on migration. Not aggressive tho.

Chick 7   MALE  - ORANGE band  
He also  got back pack transmitters 9-14, later removed
007 is the dominent bird in the pen, he even stands up to the Queen, #1.
On migration he is a good flyer, but he did have to be crated Oct 22.

Chick 8  FEMALE  8 light blue band
The little sister gets scared of things a little more easily than the other birds do.
On migration she limped a couple days, OM gave her meds in grapes for pain and swelling.  She was fine.
She is a grape fiend.  She will steal others grapes.  She holds her own, not shy.  I like her!

Chick 9  MALE Green band  
He got *back pack transmitters 9-14, later removed
The youngest bird in the bunch. He holds his own against the other cranes.

*  The back pack transmitters annoyed the birds too much and were removed.

Oct 2 - 4 cranes flew to the new 1st migration stop
#1, #7, #8 and #9 - the other 4 had to be crated.
Oct 22 only 2 flew to Green Co, #1 and #4, the other 6 had to be crated.

July 9 the crane chicks arrive in Wisconsin

Oct 29, 2013   Tuesday,  NO FLY  
We won’t be going anywhere today. Winds aloft are directly out of the south at 10 knots, which would turn our 55 mile flight into a 3-hour trip.
We’ll be spending another day in Windybago County, IL.

A Fool’s Game by OM pilot Joe Duff Oct. 29
In an effort to safeguard Whooping cranes from extinction, we raise a new generation each year.
We keep them isolated from all things human and teach them to migrate from Wisconsin to Florida but it’s a fool’s game.
Wildlife reintroduction is a risky endeavor with no guarantee that it will work.
Whooping cranes are long-lived and slow to reproduce.

It took 10 years releasing birds at Necedah before realizing that blackflies were an issue.
It will take another few years at White River Marsh before there are enough birds to see if the problem persists.
In the meantime, we must continue the work to protect what we have invested so far.

The eggs are hatched at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, the chicks taught to follow the aircraft.
The success of the entire effort depends on which way the wind is blowing - literally.
Joe Duff  (much more, click the link)

OM pilot Joe Duff gives a presentation in Illinois, streamed to chatroom.
It begins after he had started his presentation.  Joe was once a photographer.
His talk is interesting even if your not insane about cranes or conservation.  He has some humorous stories.
OM has lost a few birds for varying reasons.  Vandals will kill - illegally - just for sick fun, and were only fined $1.00.
That is an outrage.  If govt and states are going to protect these birds, mean it!
I would have fined them $1,000.00 and 10 days in jail.

Oct 30-31, 2013  Winnebago - NO FLY, RAIN!
Weather doesnt bode well - to fly to Lasalle, Dense fog advisory in effect until 11 am. winds on Wed, Rains and southwinds on Thursday.

Social Learning of Migratory Performance
Science 30 August 2013

Successful bird migration can depend on individual learning, social learning, and innate navigation programs. Using 8 years of data on migrating whooping cranes, we were able to partition genetic and socially learned aspects of migration. Specifically, we analyzed data from a reintroduced population wherein all birds were captive bred and artificially trained by ultralight aircraft on their first lifetime migration. For subsequent migrations, in which birds fly individually or in groups but without ultralight escort, we found evidence of long-term social learning, but no effect of genetic relatedness on migratory performance. Social learning from older birds reduced deviations from a straight-line path, with 7 years of experience yielding a 38% improvement in migratory accuracy.

I dont know how to interpret the Science article.  It doesnt seem all the work and money involved in teaching cranes to follow aircraft helps them learn to migrate.

My analysis of whooper crane chatroom
One of the mods insults me in private message, I am openly told its none of my business - by the husband of an OM staffer.
Very poor PR for whoopers.  Good way to drive off anyone who thinks.
A mod from another website (not cranes) always makes it a point to harrass me and prolificly affirm anyone who is rude toward me.
Some of these folks are unkind if you dont worship cranes.  

From what I've seen I would not be part of this operation, but its interesting to watch the birds.
Whooping Cranes are beautiful, but seem to be pretty stupid birds.

Nov 1, 2013   Winnebago, NO FLY, WINDS!

DAR Whooping Cranes Released at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge
October 29, 2013
After five months of constant care and training, it took just over a minute to release ICF’s nine Direct Autumn Release Whooping Cranes at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge last Thursday, October 24. View Tom Lynn Photography’s video of the release.
Media Contact: Joan Garland, ICF Outreach Coordinator, 608-381-1262

Nine young Whooping Cranes were released October 24 at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Dodge County, Wis.  The cranes are part of the Direct Autumn Release (DAR) project conducted by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP), an international coalition of public and private organizations that is reintroducing this highly imperiled species in eastern North America, part of its historic range. There are now 110 Whooping Cranes in the wild in eastern North America thanks to WCEP’s efforts.

DAR (Direct Autumn Release) releases the cranes from crates!
Release of cranes is done non-costumed so the cranes don't hang around.
The DAR cranes were hatched and raised by biologists with WCEP partner International Crane Foundation (ICF).
The nine birds were released in the vicinity of older Whooping Cranes from whom the young birds will learn the migration route south.
ICF seeks to establish a migratory population of Whooping Cranes in the eastern U.S.
Biologists from ICF track the released cranes using telemetry picking up signals emitted from leg transmitters on the birds.

In addition to the 9 DAR birds, 8 juvenile Whooping Cranes are being led south by project partner Operation Migration’s ultralight aircraft.  The cranes left the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, Wis. on October 2.  The ultralight-led birds are currently in Winnebago County, Illinois. (Nov 1.2013)

The only other migratory population of Whooping  Cranes nests at Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta, Canada and winters at Aransas NWR on the Texas Gulf Coast.  A non-migratory flock of approximately 20 birds lives year-round in the central Florida Kissimmee region, and an additional 25 non-migratory cranes live in southern Louisiana.

Nov 2, 2013  Windybago, NO FLY,  WINDS!  
Down Day #8  The good news is the winds this morning are from the northwest.  The bad news is they’re just a bit too strong.
We’re standing down for another day.  BUT! Tomorrow is looking promising

My unofficial prediction at 4.30 am was - will OM chance it??
Today it looks like the air will be too trashy and forecast changed - for the worse.
Yesterdays forecast for Sat and Sun looked excellent to fly to Lasalle.

I got an official Email indicating I am unwelcome in chat.  Rather double standards but its their call.
Its ok by OM for the mod ff to insult me in private messages and be a nit picking kontrol freek.
FF also deletes some of my posts when there is no need to do so, but of course she doesnt delete others posts.

Several guests in chat SAW crane #5 and the trike collide Oct. 2 and the chick fell in a heap on the runway.
The mods franticly deleted our posts and banned the one who first posted that for a day.
We were told we did not see what we clearly saw.  Thankfully the bird was ok.  Click to Oct. 2 and 3 to read more.  Here is the video of the incident.

Someone complained to the boss I had spelled Helloween.  But they can talk about witches and its ok.
I was told I post religious stuff.  I have never posted the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, but others post their religions.
Helloween is religious - it celebrates witchcraft.  I have seen it spelled halloween, helloween and holloween.  Whoever complained about that is picky and ignorant.  HELLoween is actually most correct as its satan's day.
Witchcraft is the fastest growing religion, the downfall of the USA

The birds are interesting to watch as God's creation but I dont worship nature.  Romans 1
I knew birds worshippers (thats a religious cult) would not appreciate my blog comments.
I did not know the OM captain would ban me.  Its easy for those who hate me to get together and all complain together - even if they have to make stuff up.

Environmentalism is an AlGore religion.  Valuing creation ABOVE human beings is a religion and offensive.
I was offended at all the chat about witches - a religion.  In fact its sadly the fastest growing religion.

OM double standards.  Others can break the rules and thats ok.
I posted something which got deleted which they considered political.  I didnt think so.  It was humor and not about any politician.
Even saving cranes is political and religious.  People can make anything politics or religion - or both.
If you dont like a person, claim their post is politics.

Nov 3, 2013   GOODBYE Windybago!
Cranes flew 55 miles to Lasalle!

They all 8 flew to LaSalle today - 55 miles in 2 hours.

11/3/2013 Heather report from LaSalle County, Illinois
All 8 Whooping cranes launched with Brooke at 6:57am. About a mile from the departure site, crane #1 (Dora the Queen)
dropped back and was picked up by chase pilot Richard van Heuvelen, while the original 7 stayed with Brooke.
They landed at LaSalle County at exactly 9:00am making today’s 55 mile flight, 2 hours and 3 minutes in duration.
Today’s lead pilot Brooke Pennypacker will have a report later.

6.00 am  OM is going to try it.  Surface winds calm, wind directions are conflicting.
6.19 am  Tumes head to pen, Brooke will be lead pilot, per Heather, Richard chase trike #2
6.30  Steam from the nuclear plant is going straight up.
6.45  trikes fires up their engines.  They have to wait for sun so frost doesnt form on wings
Lou in Cessna - top cover plane ready to take off

6.48  Rich took off - they will test the air and then decide whether GO to fly cranes to Lasalle
6.49  Brooke took off

6:55   LAUNCH - Pilot Brooke and 8 birds takeoff
  Heather reported 6 on Right wing, 2 on Left, pilot reports 6 on Left, 2 on Right, either way Brook has all 8 birds!
6.56  one bird dropping, Rich will get it
6.57  Lou takes off in cessna
6.59  Rich picked up bird that dropt off
7.02  ON COURSE -   Pilot Rich reports Brooke has 7 birds, he has 1, Brooke missed flyover but more concerned about birds.
7.13  pilot reports speed 29-30 mph - estimates 2 hour long flight
7.19  JoeD reports deviation around Rockford controlled zone - they are ahead of birds
7:26  birds fly well west of Chicago following I-39 south
7:38  fog reported ahead, layer of clouds   -  low shelf
7:45   burds doing some wing-switching
8:09  there was a transmission they were off course.  likely to avoid a fog bank.
8.11  Heather -reports Brooke still has 7, and Rich 1

Richard flew at 3500 ft, Brooke at 2500 feet
crossed I-88 and I-39.  I-80 is the next flight
9.06  touchdown in Lasalle - our birds flew 2 hours

Brooke Pennypacker Lead Pilot Report Nov. 3, 2013
Morning.  Dark and cold and most importantly, calm.  
Geoff and Colleen pulled open the pen doors, off we went down the runway and into the wild blue.  
#1 lagged back and was picked up by Richard, the rest eagerly continued, forming off the left wing in an orderly line, plowing into a headwind for the 55 mile flight.
It was great to be over the landscape of Illinois.  
After a couple of hours plus, we are over our destination.  Soon, the birds are in the pen, the trikes are in the hanger and we have delayered our flying gear and are once again Earthmen.

11-3 videos
11-3  Flight video - it quits about half way

cray videos
11-3-2013  hangar;list=UUFkvosKUbOyw3loJjQQ2iLw

Whooping Crane Cam
Launched from Winnebago pen, Flight - 11/03/2013;list=UUFkvosKUbOyw3loJjQQ2iLw;list=UUFkvosKUbOyw3loJjQQ2iLw

OM Whooping Crane Cam - Colts - 11/02/2013 Winnebago pen
Tume feeding cranes - who know where their food comes from

Nov 4-6, 2013   NO FLY, WINDS -  Lasalle
Beautiful hanger at LaSalle
11.00 am  The wind is so strong, the center fence looks like it could blow down!!

Tuesday, Richard went up but winds 19 mph up there.
Wednesday,  RAIN all over the state.

Nov 7, 2013   Thursday, flew from Lasalle to Livingston, Stop 7  
Flew 55 miles to Livingston illinois Stop 7
The cranes arrived safely in Livingston County following a 1 hr and 15 minutes flight. All 8 cranes followed Richard for the entire 55 mile flight.

6.20  OM will put a trike up to test the air aloft, topcover plane to arrive before 7 am.
Lead pilot Richard
6.48  beautiful sunrise on the trike cam
6.51  engine started on Rich's trike
6.58  cranes are out and off they go
7:11 Grateful_Dad: Someone from flyover spot said 3 on right wing, 5 on left, all with RvH
7.17  All 8 up with Richard.  Last report 3 on one wing 5 on other wing.  (so reported the devil mod featherface)
7.36 still no voice from Heather and cam froze - so nothing LIVE
8.20  mods got text from Heather - no skip, wind speeds increasing in Livingston
 -   ( I saw that would happen pre-dawn this morning.)
9:25 ruckus2-1: Jd via Heather -- birds arrived at livingston
That is all the news posted.

11-7 photo of cranes flying overhead

11-7 video - Birds Launch

11-7 flight video

Lead Pilot Report
Nov. 7, 2013  Richard
The take off was flawless and smooth as we rose above the trees and slowly turned on course.
The cranes climbed quickly in the cold air, and the wind slowly turning to our backs. The miles quickly ticked by while the birds switched places with each other and the trike wing.
About halfway there, flying along at 3200 feet ASL the wind began to turn to our front and slowly we lost our tailwind. By the time we approached Livingston county it became a head wind.
No sooner had we put the birds in the pen then the wind kicked up.
Richard van Heuvelen

What Richard ran into was exactly what I saw before dawn - winds from several directions between the stops.

Mid-November to be stormier.  SNOW is predicted.

Nov 8, 2013   Friday, Birds flew 59 miles from Livingston to Piatt Cty (Monticello) Stop 8
Flight from 6.52 launch to 8.36 touchdown

Brooke lead pilot, Richard chase.  Brooke's helmet face part looks different.
6.38  Pilots and Jo at the hanger, Heather near the pen
6.41  Trikes out of hanger, engines ON

6.52  Birds launch with Brooke, all 8 cranes with Brooke. I heard Heather say birds are out.
  A dozen mods and they are still slow to answer questions, and they make stuff up.
  Just post anything - need not be true.  I hate that.

NO ONE had the takeoff time.  Someone asked and no one knew.  
The mods only post the psycho with his little stopwatch who had no idea the launch time.  
That little psycho openly insulted me repeatedly in chat.  Who is banned?  Him?  NO - me.
And they lavishly praise the retarded little psycho.

8.11  suddenly I am seeing the flight on the main link.
  Very very strange!  I dont know if BOTH cams were on trike, no one said - but thats the only answer I can think of.
 The cam on one link quit for half hour or more.  

8.20  Heather says 10 minutes out and all 8 birds still with Brooke!
8.36  Touchdown - and cranes fly past trike
Brook grabs the grapes
8.38  Richard lands

Nothing was said ahead of time that BOTH cams would be on trike.
Handy tho, that way OM has a pen cam the day they fly.

Whooping Crane survivability chances
I could never find many statistics on survivability of Whooping Cranes on their site.
I found a few doing a websearch.  This is only what I could find in search.
In his speech, Joe Duff mentioned they had *lost* some birds, but he gave few details.
OM pilot Joe Duff gives a talk about cranes. OM has lost a few birds for varying reasons.

Georgia December 2010 - Dead Whooping Cranes is a mystery
3 dead DAR whooping cranes found just west of Albany Georgia, part of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.

Almont, N.D. - Whooping crane remains found in a field, broken neck.

Alabama - 2 Whooping cranes found shot dead, 12-04 and 22-10

Indiana - Whooping crane found dead from a shotgun wound.  I wonder if thats why OM no longer flies thru Indiana.

Nov. 9-12, 2013   NO FLY,  WIND and/or RAIN / sleet
Piatt Cnty (Monticello) Stop 8
Thin layer of ice over the RV door, essentially locking OM in.
Once we were able to break out, we discovered snow on the ground.  It’s currently 23 degrees.

Nov 13, 2013  Wednesday, FLEW Piatt to Cumberland Illinois, Stop 9
Leaving Piatt today - 2 hour flight into a headwind

- 3.30 am clear calm COLD, Breezy SW winds at 10 to 20 mph.
OM thinks they can fly today, Richard lead pilot, Brooke chase

6.24 am  Heather LIVE, frosty cold morning,
6:29 ruckus2: RVH should be lead today
 -  HeatherCam is washing out most likely due to all the snow-frost on ground or cold
6:39 Bill3-1: I don't know about a skip today. dense fog alert down in Wayne County over the lakes and rivers, had sound. then a screeching noise and it went dead
6.50  Brooke suits up in the hangar - on cam - lol
6.57  Rich trying to start his engine, its being st st st stubbbbbornnn or c c cold
6.58  it started then died, ah there you go!  Brooke puts costume on
7.03  radio check
7.05  Rich takes off from hangar
7.11  landing, picking up birds
7.13  - 6 birds out, 2 in pen - leaving Piatt

Question    "If thats the one that hit the wing, leave it there"   Question
 (Richard didnt mention this in his report which was posted Nov 14 at 5.30 am.  All cranes flew.
  Oct. 2 it was #5 who hit the trike and fell on the runway.  That one I saw live - but mods told everyone we didnt see what we saw.
 I wish OM wouldnt hide these events.  In video of launch you can see the birds fly ahead of trike.)
(11-18 UPDATE per Joe Duff -  this was #5 again)

7.16  Brooke reports 6 on left, 2 on right wing
 -  no mention of a top cover plane today
 -  its a GO - pilot said take the pen down
cam froze
8:45 ruckus: Heather says they are 10 mins out
8.45  cam unfroze - all 8 birds are gliding off the wing of the aircraft.   WOW
- lead crane has his legs tucked in, most legs are extended backward

8.56 am  Joe Duff said nearly a 2 hour flight into a headwind
8.58 am  TOUCHDOWN Cumberland


Launch   (video begins with test flight then landing to pick up birds);list=UUFkvosKUbOyw3loJjQQ2iLw


Landing in Cumberland;list=UUFkvosKUbOyw3loJjQQ2iLw

Whooping cranes flying from Piatt to Cumberland, Illinois then landing near a horse corral

Nov 14-15, 2013   NO FLY - Cumberland (Toledo)  Illinois, Stop 9  
Going Nowhere.  Surface winds this morning are at 10-15 mph and from the south,
which means we’ll be staying put today in Cumberland County, IL.
Next stop is 63 miles to Wayne (Fairfield) the last stop in illinois
After that its 45 miles to Union KY, maybe OM can finally skip a stop

15th - OM is DOWN today and they wont be flying over the weekend either.
On the surface they are 10 mph and aloft 20-25 knots. The same system is expected to continue over the weekend,
which means temperatures will be warming up, however, it also likely means we’ll be here for a couple more days.

8.30 am  the water pan is jiggling as if its raining out - but I dont see rain on radar at pen - tho its in the area.
This is the first day in many that I have seen the birds put both feet in their water pans.

Lead Pilot Report, Richard van Heuvelen
Nov. 13, 2013
- It was darn cold. RV doors were iced over and frozen shut and crew dug around for long johns, and various ‘woolies’.  Sunrise wasn’t until 6:38 and it took quite a while for the sun to pop over the horizon.

I gave the thumbs up for the release, but one bird escaped early. This left me unable to take off as all the birds came out ahead of me. Once the birds were far enough away, the trike and I took to the air. I turned to catch 7 of the birds, but one bird was behind trying to catch up.
We circled around to give the bird time to catch up and he came on the wing in one of the lead positions. Soon I was on course with all 8 birds on the wing.

The frosty air seemed to get warmer as we gained altitude, and the birds that had their feet curled up underneath their chests for warmth, gradually put them back in their normal flying position out behind them.

We reached about 3,500 feet above sea level and hit a ground speed about 31 mph. The birds settled down for a fairly uneventful flight to Cumberland County. By the time we touched down we’d been in the air just over two hours. A long time up there to cover 56 air miles.

Whooping Crane Update, 1 September – 14 November 2013
Nov. 16, 2013  Heather Ray

The eastern migratory population is 108 birds (58 males and 50 females).
29 whooping cranes in Wisconsin, 2 in Michigan, 5 in Illinois, 21 in Indiana, 2 in Tennessee, 5 in Kentucky, 2 in Alabama, 35 at unknown locations on migration
3 not recently reported, 2 presumed dead, and 2 long term missing.

The deaths of male and female wild-hatched chicks.
W1-12 and W8-12 were discovered during an aerial tracking flight on 2 October on state wildlife property near the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.
Their heavily scavenged remains were collected on 2 and 3 October respectively.

The fully intact carcass of female parent-reared juvenile 21-13 was collected on the shoulder of a public road through the Necedah on 2 October.

The scavenged remains of female parent-reared juvenile no. 20-13 were collected on 15 October on Necedah. Her death was discovered during an aerial tracking flight the previous day.

Wild-hatched female W1-10 died in captivity 2 November despite efforts to rehabilitate her.
She had been discovered injured at Necedah on 9 September.

The remains of DAR (Direct Autumn Release) juvenile male 53-13 were discovered at Horicon on 13 November.

Suspected Mortalities

Male 5-05 and female no. 22-07 (both with nonfunctional transmitters) are suspected dead but are still included in the population totals above.
No. 22-07’s mate has been observed on their previous wintering territory in Gibson County, Indiana, alone.


W1-10 was reported with an injury on 9 September. She was captured at Necedah on 12 September and transported to the International Crane Foundation. She had sustained wounds on her left foot and her lower right leg. Despite rehabilitation efforts, she succumbed to internal injuries.

Direct Autumn Release juvenile male 55-13 sustained a leg injury from an unknown source. He was captured for examination on 6 November. There was no obvious cause of the injury and he was re-released at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge the next day. The issue has since resolved itself.

2012 Cohort

Direct Autumn Release (DAR)

No. 14-12 remained in Lenawee County, Michigan through at least 31 August. He was not detected there on 17 or 19 September. He was next reported in Jackson County, Michigan on 28 October.

No. 15-12 was reported possibly leaving on migration with sandhill cranes from Hendry County, Florida, in late February or early March. No subsequent reports (see below).

No. 16-12 remained with sandhills in Dodge County, Wisconsin, until moving to Columbia County by 6 September where he remains.

OM Ultralight (UL)

4-12 and 5-12 remained in Green Lake County, Wisconsin, through at least 2 October. They were not found during an aerial tracking flight on 8 November.

7-12 was reported in Waushara County, Wisconsin, by 16 August. She remained in the county through at least 19 September but used a couple different locations. She was relocated in Winnebago County on 2 October where she remains.

11-12 left the St. Marks NWR pensite in Wakulla County, Florida, on 9 February.  No subsequent reports (see below).

2013 Cohort


Nine DAR juveniles received their permanent colored leg bands and transmitters on 26 September. They were released on the evening of 24 October at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Dodge County, Wisconsin. One juvenile sustained a minor leg injury and another (no. 53-13) was discovered dead on 13 November (see above). Eight juveniles remain in the area.


8 juveniles in the ultralight-led cohort departed from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, Wisconsin, on 2 October. They are currently located at their ninth stopover location in Cumberland County, Illinois.


Female W3-13 was captured for banding on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge on 31 October. She departed south with her parents, nos. 9-03 and 3-04, on 10 November. They were reported in Woodland County, Illinois, the following day.

Parent reared (PR)

4 parent reared juveniles were transferred from the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland to the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin on 19 September. They received their permanent colored leg bands and transmitters on 20 September and were released individually on the territories of breeding adult pairs on 23-25 September.

20-13 and 21-13 were killed shortly after release (see mortality section).

22-13 was often seen in a field adjacent to the refuge near adult pair nos. 11-09 and 15-09 and sandhill cranes. He left the refuge and was observed with sandhill cranes in Adams County, Wisconsin, on 23 October. He moved to the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area vicinity, Green Lake County, Wisconsin by 28 October. Satellite reading placed him at Horicon in Dodge County, Wisconsin 8 November where he was seen associating with the DAR juveniles the next day. He departed to Laporte County, Indiana, on 9/10 November and remains at this location.

24-13 immediately joined breeding pair nos. 2-04 and 8-09 upon release from his temporary pen. The group moved to Sauk County, Wisconsin, on 21 October and left on migration from that location on 10 November. Satellite readings placed them in Jasper County, Illinois, on 11 November and at the adults previous wintering location in Hopkins County, Kentucky, on 13 November.

No recent reports

Female 2-11 was last reported at her wintering location in Marion County, Florida, on 9 April.

Female 11-12 left the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge pensite in Wakulla County, Florida, on 9 February.

Male 15-12 was last reported possibly leaving on migration with sandhill cranes from Hendry County, Florida, in late February or early March.

Long Term Missing

Male 12-07 was last observed on the Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on 25 April 2012. He has a nonfunctional transmitter and cannot be tracked.

Female 16-10 was last observed with sandhill cranes in Ottawa County, Michigan, on 6 May 2012.


Nov 16-17, Satday-Sonday, NO FLY, Serious WIND, RAIN! - Cumberland  
OM NOT flying this weekend.
Looks like they will have good north winds next week.

November 12, 2013  One of the DAR cranes was killed by a predator.  RIP.
The DAR chicks got their legbands Sept 27 and were released at Horicon NWR Oct 24.

Sunday Tornado warning for Cumberland
11.30 or so  Joe Duff and Heather were chatting with the chatroom, took questions.
Sunday the cranes are dead center of a very severe weather threat, possible tornadoes.
Joe Duff mentioned OM team going to Walmart for shelter,
and just releasing the cranes to fend for themselves.  Tough decision.
Joe Duff will be flying at the next stop.  Pilots agreed to rotate, Brooke and Rich taking the first 1/3 of the trip.
It was crane #5 bumped the wing.  Thats the same bird that hit the wing Oct 2

11.45 am  Winds kicking up bad
Tornado warning for Cumberland
1.30 pm  OM team and birds all OK.

The weather channel has a series called - It Could Happen Tomorrow.
One of this series was a large torndao hitting Chicago.  I kept thinking of that today.

Tornadoes in illinois Sunday Nov. 17th, and several other states - report

Nov 17 comments by Heather
Many were very concerned about OM team and the birds in all the severe weather.  Here are comments in OM Field Journal.
Heather Ray said - Closest tornado was 5 miles from us. Sirens rang out. We vamoosed to the nearest hotel lobby with several others.

11-17-13 video, cranes, then Joe-Heather chat
You can hear the wind blowing, then cam switches from cranes to Joe and Heather discussing the severe weather.
OM took shelter in a hotel when tornado sirens went off.  Joe said they would release the birds to fend for themselves if things got bad.
That would be the better choice than the cranes trapped in that small pen. They are banded and could be found later.
Joe-Heather begin chatting about half way into this video.  BEWARE a horrible screaming as they change phones!
Brooke is parked about 1/4 mile from birds, and if need be, checks on them.

Joe Duff presentation video 11-17-13

LAST pic of Cranes in Cumberland, Nov. 17th, the day of the tornadoes


Nov 18, Monday, FLEW out of Cumberland  Illinois, Stop 9
SKIPPED Wayne (Fairfield) 63 miles, the last illinois stop.
OM skipped it and flew 45 additional miles to Union KY, stop 11
LAUNCH with Brooke 7.21 am Nov. 18th for a skip

6.00 am  OM put a trike up to check winds
6:57  Brooke lead pilot, Richard chase
7.00  Trike engine starts, that trike sounds really rough this morning
7.08  Richard, trike 1 takes off to test aloft
7.10  Brooke takes off
7:11 loriearn  Rich just reported its not very smooth
 -  Pilots radios werent connecting so Brooke landed, radios checked out ok
7.15  Brooke takes off again, for the 2nd try
- I see 2 mosquitos on Heathers cam - they are the 2 trikes.  Haha - too small for pic

7.21  Birds are out
7:21 loriearn  birds are out - All the cranes with Brooke
7:22 loriearn -  5 cranes on right wing, 3 on left
7:23 loriearn  Brooke says the birds arent too happy with him right now but they are sticking with him
7:25  Heather breakig down Cumberland pen
7.34  cam freezes
8:07 MSWcrane: Birds are Flapping, Joe is talking to us, but we can't see or hear anything, have to use imagination
Joe's phone sound so wacky and picture frozen.
8:14 MSWcrane: 8 burds flying with Brooke at 1500' with a tail wind is our last into

 -   I heard the word - skipping  -  amid scanty and garbled transmissions
8:15 loriearn-1: thinking they might skip
8.41  ruckus - SKIPPING per Heather - we are skipping stop #10

8:57 MSWcrane - Joe in tracking van is pulling the pen, (it was not set up at the next stop in case of skip).  
 -  so when Joe gets there he and driver will set up pen
 -  OM team was expected to skip stop 10 before today

9.21  Birds have been flying 2 hours now
11:23 Featherface: Text from Heather, Landed in Kentucky

Wayne (Fairfield) 63 miles was the last illinois stop.
OM skipped it and flew 45 additional miles to Union KY, stop 11
Next day they fly, Joe Duff will be a pilot

OM needs to adjust cam before initial takeoff.  All we saw off trike cam was sky.
I did catch birds out on H cam

11-18 video early morning Heathercam
Over halfway thru video you get a fast glimpse of the birds-trike

A Skip – Finally!
FLIGHT today -  2 hours and 20 minutes
Date: Nov., 18, 2013 Migration Day 48  in Union County, Kentucky
Dist. Traveled today 108 miles  -  Total Dist. 453 miles

After yesterday’s hairy day of tornado sirens and fleeing the RV park to head to the nearest hotel lobby, we receive a gift of a double migration leg today.
Brooke will have his lead pilot report later but Joe Duff, who today spent his last day in the tracking van before he begins flying the rest of the migration, reports the flight lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes and all eight cranes stayed with Brooke for the entire 108 miles!

RIP 2006 Whoopers
In 2006 OM lost the entire group of cranes because they were trapped in a storm.
Sadly, all but one crane were killed February 2, 2007 when a storm hit their wintering grounds in Florida.
The remaining crane was also lost in the spring.

About the 2006 Storm
The Whooping Cranes suffered a major blow on February 2, 2007 when 17 juvenile birds were killed in a Florida storm
that also killed 20 people in tornadoes. The birds were in a pen to keep them safe from predators,
when they were stunned by a lightning strike estimated to have hit 150 feel from the pen.
Necropsy results showed they likely collapsed after being stunned, and drowned in rising water in their top-netted pen.
Up until this event, no captive Whooping Crane anywhere had ever been killed by lightning.
One of the young cranes managed to escape the pen during the storm and was discovered alive on Feb. 3.
He survived winter but died the end of April. Cause of death is being investigated.

Nov 19  Tuesday,  Union Ky FLEW to TN  
Left Kentucky today, landed in  Tennessee.
Will they skip again?  Lookin good
Next stop is 63 miles to Marshall Ky, stop 12.
After that its 53 miles to Carroll  TN, stop 13

North Winds
This morning in Union County, Kentucky winds are from the north, light on the surface, aloft stronger.

PILOTS - Richard lead and Joe Duff chase.  Good ole Joe, he is so easy to love.  
          An ole charmer he is.  Wonder if he is Irish.

Absolutely beautiful Kentucky sunrise!
6.48 am  Tumes head to pen
6.58  am  trikes go up to test air

7.23  LAUNCH!   Birds are out - first air pickup of this migration
(Launch was 7.21 yesterday )

7.36  I got a snip of one crane flapping away below - after a minute or two, turned out he came up and took the lead position - they just switched
7.40  lost signal, cam freezing, signal spotty, on n off then nothin
7.51  they are flying fast!
8.07  Heather said SKIP, on to TN
8:14 MNLynn2: ETA - 1 hour 20 min.
8:14 ruckus2-1: SKIPPING!
It is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day
8.16  I heard Heather say - SKIPPING!  she is fading in n out in audio
8.25  Cam paused while Heather stops at a bakery - after telling us all they were gaining too much weight.  hmmm....
9:34  Birds are down, landed in Tennessee

Heather and Jo are hauling the travel pen, no more pre-set up pens.  

Launch 7.23 today, was 7.21 yesterday
7:07 am  CapeGal - Someone please tell Heather she has a GREAT voice for this Wink

The birds have begun flying s-southeast now instead of straight south
Migration MAP, where are they now?

Stopovers, number of miles, follow the birds

Birds are behind 2012 cranes and ahead of 2011 class

Nov 18 pilot report, Brooke Pennypacker
About 15 miles from our destination we decided to “skip” our intended stop and keep flying on to our next one.  Conditions were just too good to pass up the opportunity.
Joe Duff and Dave pull the pen trailer with the tracking van.  At this point of the migration, no more pre-set up pens.  We land, hide the birds while the pen is set up, lead the birds into the pen and fly off.

Meanwhile, back at the pen, they loaded the trailer with the Kentucky pen

Nov 20-22, 2013  Carroll  TN, stop 13  NO FLY, winds  
DOWN today and I doubt they will fly the next couple day.
Leaves In The Wind  by Jo-Anne Bellemer

OM Whooping Crane Cam - 11/19/2013
Phone vids taken while awaiting the travel pen arrival and set up
Whoopers purr with joy and thanksgiving as they browse a Tennessee marsh;list=UUFkvosKUbOyw3loJjQQ2iLw

Richard van Heuvelen, Lead Pilot Report Nov. 19
Two flying days in a row and both times we skipped a stop. Today with a brisk north wind it was too risky to take off normally so an air pickup was the best option. I approached from the south. Geoff and Coleen let the birds out and as they took off they turned right as the trike turned left and settled on the right wing on course for Marshall county, Kentucky.

The trike and 8 birds climbed rapidly in the cold turbulent air and we were soon high above the now hilly countryside of Kentucky – its narrow windy roads in stark contrast to Illinois’ flat grid system. As we flew by Marshall county we were at 4,000 feet above sea level, as opposed to 372 at the Sturgis Airport we had just left.  
Obviously we would skip and continue on for Carroll county.  We were doing 70 mph ground speed.  

The descent was rapid and magical as the trike tried to stay ahead of and away from the birds in order to avoid hitting the now fast gliding birds whose flying abilities have been perfected since that first flight from White River Marsh Wisc.
The air was rough as we glided down through the last 2500 feet – at one time reaching 84 mph ground speed but the trike managed to stay ahead and below the birds and all landed with out incident.

Nov 23-28  stuck in Carroll  TN,  winds, rain
4.00 am  I thot the cranes would fly today, winds are NW - but they are heading to Alabama and I see rain on radar.
6.30 am official OM report  -  While we have north winds this morning, they’re a bit too strong. And if that isn’t enough to keep us grounded,
there are also some pop-up rain cells between our current location and our next migration stop.

I saw 2 tumes in the pen today.  One looked as if they werent sure what they were doing.
The other tume came over as if protecting them.
Of course - looks can be deceiving.  Wonder who they were.

Nov 24 - Major storm system coming
Nov 25 - Its raining and sleeting, sounds on cam may indicate hail too.
Nov 26 -  large winter storm, snow streamers are forming between here and our next migration stop in Hardin County, TN.

11-24 video tume

Keeping Warm Pilot Joe Duff  
Nov. 25, 2013  Flying an ultralight aircraft is a lot like riding a motorcycle except you have to think in three dimensions instead of two, and it’s a lot more fun. The other similarity is that the number of flyers, like the number of riders, drops proportionately with the temperature. For bikers to brave temperatures in the forties they must have a passion for the open road, be desperate to get somewhere – or crazy. The latter mostly applies to us because we often fly in temperatures much lower than the forties, in fact the teen are not uncommon.

One of the most often asked questions is how do we stay warm at 3000 feet and 18 degrees and each of the three pilots has his own answer. Mine is to layers my clothing starting with long johns and lined pants covered by a flight suit. I wear heavy socks and normal shoes with heat packets under my toes. Then I pull on gum boots that come up over my calves. I have a pair of down filled mittens in which I place two hot packs plus one in each thumb. I cut holes in a balaclava so my headset fits securely over my ears. Finally the entire outfit is covered by the costume which adds bulk, but not much heat.

The hard part is that once you are airborne it’s too late to fix a cold spot so you must make sure it’s all correct before you leave the ground. The other trick is not to expend too much energy pushing out the aircraft or pull starting the engine. Even a little sweat next to the skin turns frigid once you are sitting and no longer exercising. The cold spot for me is right down the zipper line of my coat where there is no insulation. The zippers of all the layers line up and the 40 mile per hour cold air gets right to your core.

Of course the other problem is when we land and the mid morning temperature is a lot warmer than it was when we started. We walk the birds to a hiding spot and wait for the ground crew to arrive and set up the pen.  Unless you can sneak away from the birds to shed some layers, you are in for a hot hour and a half.

In truth it is not that bad. Two hours of cold and one of hot and we are one leg closer to getting home for Christmas. It’s a small price to pay.

Nov 28
Happy Thanksgiving - Hannukkah!!!

6.25 am  BIG SMILE on Heathers face - gonna fly!
Here is Heather.  Sorry Heather but if you hadnt banned me I'd have used the good pic!

Jobelle gives thanks that they will fly today as they drive up n down the hills of Tennessee.
6.45 am  Tumes Colleen and Geoff leave truck for pen
Jobelle gives thanks that they will fly today as they drive up n down the hills of Tennessee.
6.45 am  Tumes Colleen and Geoff leave truck for pen
Joe Duff lead pilot, Richard chase
7.02  trike taking off
7.11  trikes both land at airport.  Joe's radio is out.
-  Richard said it'd be a 3 hour flight.  Thats all the fuel the trikes carry.  Doesnt look good.
7.18  -  Richard said to Joe on ground at airport - whats this - UNLOCK - mean?   LOL!!!!!

Nov 29, 2013   Flyday, Carroll  TN  67 miles to Hardin TN, Stop 14 Joe Duff lead pilot, Richard chase  -  again  - hoping radio works today.  Heather told them - NO SWEARING!
Heather didnt tell us why it didnt work yesterday.

6.25 Pilots are at the hanger and Heather is driving to pen site with tumes and Jobel
6.39  sweet Joe Duff looks at cam and said he was up til 10.30 last nite fixing his radio.
Um.  I've heard stories about Joe fixing stuff.  He said we'll see what happens.
6.41  Geoff and Colleen head to pen again
Heather is giving away all Jobel's secrets.  tsk tsk
Sandhills heard purring in the distance
6.53  some kid named Rick from Canada in hanger on floor praying to allah
Pilots are gonna really fill up the cussing jar - and pay for their own fuel.

7.00 am  Sweet ole Joe ready to GO, pulls trike out of hanger, starts engine
7.03  Joe takes off from airport going to do an air pickup of the birds
Joe flew between birds, that is really dangerous.  Joe's trike cam froze as soon as birds got picked up. as soon as birds take off cam is gone
7:21 ruckus - maybe rodeo because JD called for the birds to be released too early and they got ahead of him
7:23 loriearn -  7 birds with Joe
       One of the pilots counted 9 birds, maybe the dummy bird is with the cranes  lol
7.26  RODEO
7.37  no cam
7:39  flying cam live again
7:40 HeatherRayOM -  joe has 5 birds, Richard has 3
8.55  Joe is flying too slow for 3 cranes - they are flying ahead of his wing
9.00  pilot lowering - must be near Hardin TN
9.14  cam froze - they appear to be near landing

9.43  someone posted they landed - no confirmation

10:09  Heather suspects birds have landed.  However, one bird did drop out and Brooke is tracking it in the tracking van.
7 landed with Joe and are frolicking in a nearby pond

12:01 noon  There is a VERY nice pond near the pen site and Joe has the birds there.
1:20 pm  25 miles from destination #3 (the nut) decided he didn’t want to fly anymore. He dropped down to treetop level, circled a pond twice then landed in the next field.  Brooke and David have gone to fetch him.  We are on the ground in Hardin County, TN Nov. 29

Next stop is 57  miles to Franklin Alabama, Stop 15
Cranes 1 and 4 are getting their adult voices

Date: November 29, 2013  Migration Day: 59
Dist. Traveled: 67 miles     Total Dist. 636 miles
Location:  Hardin County, Tennessee

At Least it Wasn’t Cold
Joe Duff, Lead Pilot Report November 29, 2013

Today it was a comfortable 29 degrees Fahrenheit.  For the first time on this migration it was my turn to lead. That brings with it a little excitement and a little worry. I spent until 10:30 last night, repairing the electrical system on my aircraft that was causing the radio failure yesterday.

This morning Richard and I discussed how strong the headwind was going to be while we flew to the pensite.

Because of the soft ground, I decided to do an air pick up.  I try to anticipate how long it will take Geoff and Colleen to swing open the gates for the cranes to come charging out.
As soon as I called for the release, 3 birds came out and took off but I was too far back and without the aircraft overhead, the others waited until they spotted me and then launched. By that time the first 3 were heading in the other direction. The cranes kept turning back to their pen.

For 10 minutes we passed over the pen several times. Eventually I collected 6 birds and Richard picked up two.

A few miles south of the pen we passed over an industrial area with a busy highway and large trucks passed underneath us just as we were crossing, and the lead bird turned 180 degrees and headed back.
The others did not follow.  Richard saw the bird and picked it up making the count, Joe 5 and Richard 3.

Number 3 has been a problem bird from the beginning.

Richard at 4400 feet landed while we were still 18 miles out. By the time we arrived Richard had already parked his aircraft and led the birds to a stream. We joined him.
The stream was about a foot deep and the birds had an opportunity to bath. We spent two hours together and it was fun to watch them enjoy the water.
More details on link.

Joe zig-zagged several times over the field before he was able to get most of the cranes on the wing and out of Carroll  TN and on to Hardin.

Dec 1 -8, 2013  Hardin TN, NO FLY, wind, rain    

Nov. 29, 2013  video flight from Carroll TN to Hardin TN
Joe Duff flying to pen to air-pickup cranes
You can see 1 crane fly toward him on left and another fly across his path to the right

#3 dropt out and Joe looks to see where he went. Brooke in tracking van crated #3 later

Some cranes flying ahead of wing

Dec 3 thru 8 in Hardin TN NO FLY, wind, rain, snow    
DOWN due to winds and/or rain

Dec 7 No snow, just lots of water - which cranes LOVE to stand in!
Wind is pretty strong!  The birds really look happy to be standing in water again!
They are standing on ONE leg - and preening.  Too cute!

Dec. 5 - 6 - Nasty rain, sleet, ice, snow storm moving thru USA
Dec 3 southerly winds, a low ceiling and fog
Anyone singing - I'll be home for Christmas?

Nov 30, 2013  Hardin Co. (Savannah), Tennessee, Stop 14  NO FLY      
Winds aloft are blowing at 15-20 knots directly from the south

Nov 30, 2013  Whooping Cranes in Leon County, Florida
Possibly cranes #11 and #15 from the 2009 group

Juvenile Whooping Cranes
Dec 1, 2013  Five of the original group of DAR cranes were spotted this morning still at Horicon.
Waiting for them to migrate south soon.

Dec 9 and 10,   Hardin TN, Stop 14 NO FLY, Clouds, low ceiling
Dec. 9 The two male Whooping cranes, 4-12 & 5-12 that we saw at the White River Marsh training site last summer turned up in the winter release pen at St. Marks refuge on Saturday!

A Visit With the Whooping Cranes
Dec. 2, 2013  Linda Boyd, migration volunteer

Linda and David Boyd have been volunteers on the migration for 5 years.
Brooke invited newbie tume Linda to go to the pen with him this week.
I knew that was a new tume when I saw her on cam!

Last night’s heavy frost had turned Tennessee into a winter wonderland as they approached the pen.
These birds are rapidly losing their brown coloring and taking on the pure white plumage of adult Whoopers.

My 3 goals were - do not talk, do not touch the electric fence, and do not step on a crane foot.
With Brooke’s help, I cleared the electric fence.
As I met the (mischievous challenging) cranes, Brooke was checking out the birds, especially #3, the bad boy flight dropout.

After Brooke broke up the ice in their water bowls the birds stood in them!
Those that couldn’t get into the bowls dove for pieces of floating ice tossing them in the air, sloshing them in the water with their beaks, breaking them up, and eating them. The ice was the new toy in the pen, replacing the former new toy - me.
Click link, cute account of first encounter in pen with the birds.

Watch video of Linda's visit to the pen
12-1  Linda and Brooke video in the pen
You can see them walking up to the pen
Did OM warn Linda what an insistent grape freek #8 is?

Dec 11, Wednesday  Hardin TN, Stop 14
6.00 am  OM tried to FLY TODAY - after half hour in the air, it was just too rough and they returned.
See those holes?  The birds tried to dig to China!

6.40 ?  Tume arrived and began to take pen down already!  Netroof fell and scared us
7.17 am  First trike takes off
7.18  2nd trike is up
Richard lead pilot and Joe chase
7.25  the cranes hear trikes and so do I
7.31  birds out
I was watching both cams but the net and cam angle prevented me from seeing much
7.37  I see all 8 cranes flying with lead pilot Richard
7.55  Trikes turned around to return to pen.  Air too rought
8.05  birds back in same pen again

I guess the air was too rough - trikes only carry 3 hours of fuel
As the trike left the pen, a couple of the cranes PEEEEEEEEEEPed!!!!!!!  very long, loud.  Never heard that before.

Dec 12, Thur  Hardin TN, Stop 14 to *somewhere* Alabama
Only two cranes - #3 and #4 flew to Alabama

Pre-dawn - TODAY looks like the most promising FLY day til next week
Temp 25 clear, North winds around 5 mph.

6.30 am  OM will try to fly again today!  Hangar pictured - a beauty eh?
7.00 am we have pen cam and hangar cams.  Birds peeping and prrreeeppppping
Pilots are Richard lead and Joe Duff

7.15  trike pushed out of hanger onto runway, starts engine - rattle rattle - whirrrrrr
7.22  both trikes take off
7:24  LOUD PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPs - birdies must hear trike

7.26   BIRDS OUT

Crazy chaos. I hear the trikes flying back n forth over the pen playing the brood call.
I saw the swamp monster head out the pen, a tume under a tarp, heard a crane scream  PRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEP!
The equivalent of - YIKES!  I AM OUTTA HEAH!
Swamp monster is sposed to keep cranes from returning to pen.

7.46  I hear trike very near pen, not good
8.05  Richard has 2 birds and will fly to destination.
8.09 -  2 birds in creek near pen
8:14 ruckus -  Probably 6 birds will be crated and driven
8.50 AM - Still unknown where anyone is.  Trike cam froze and someone turned pen cam off so we dont even have that connection.

Hoping for word when Richard arrives with his 2 birds, hopefully

10:49  Update,  
2 cranes are in AL.  Other six will be crated
cam battery is dead

9.50 am 2 more birds show up outside pen.  There are 4 costume handlers.  Birds DONT wanna go in.
10.00 am  6 birds safe inside TN pen

I had the feeling the birds loved their wet pen and water so much they may not want to leave.
The 6 that didnt follow the trikes put back in TN pen til crated.
Tumes Jo-Anne Bellemer, Heather, Geoff and Colleen

The long l o o o n n g day!
MIGRATION UPDATE  December 12, 2013 Dist. Traveled: 67 miles
Location: Winston County, Alabama - where??  I have you in Franklin (Russellville), Alabama.

Two cranes made it the entire 67 miles with Richard and Joe, while Brooke and Walt tracked in the van below.
That left 6 cranes that had to be collected and returned to the TN pen.
Jo and I went after 4 that dropped out about a mile from the pen, while Geoff and Colleen tracked down 2 others that returned to the stream where Joe held them on the day we arrived.

The 4 were enticed back to the pen.  Colleen came to ask for our assistance in getting their two cranes out of the stream.
After an hour they followed us back to the pen.

By 1.00 pm we had crated all 6 cranes and Geoff drove them to the next site to join cranes 3 and 4 in Alabama.  Jo and I finally arrived here at 5:30.

Photos on link from Dec. 12
On Richard’s first pass by us, all 8 cranes were lined up beautifully. Unfortunately, it didn’t last.
Jo-Anne Bellemer and Heather in costume leading 4 of the young whooping cranes back to the pen.
I shortened Heathers report.  Click link for details.  Good report!


Dec 13, 2013  Franklin, Russellville, Winston County, Alabama, top 15      
Cranes flew an hour and landed where they began.  Sad
Joe Duff lead pilot, Richard chase
NO cameras this morning.  Heather is texting updates

7:27 Featherface: JD is picking up the birds now
7:30 Featherface: JD has 7 birds, #9 is still in the pen
7.35  Joe lead pilot has 7 birds
7:42 Featherface: We have a Rodeo and swamp monster
7:57 Featherface: Okay, JD has 4 and Richard has 4 - all birds out and flying
8:12 Featherface: Joe Duff has all 8 - said they are on course
8:31 Featherface: From Heather:  Just landed back at TN pen
Heather said pen was almost down before they got word to take them back

12-12 videos
SWAMP MONSTER Dec. 12  pickup
, sound of trikes round n round trying to collect birds

Dec. 12 return, re-pen 6 naughty birds to be crated

An Unpredictable Morning
Dec. 14, 2013  Joe Duff
, lead pilot report on link.  3 photos on link.
I just pulled a couple excerpts and added my comments.  He details much.  Excellent report.
Geoff & Colleen as swamp monsters to deter the cranes from landing.

Dec. 13 all the birds came out of the pen together except #5 who simply refused.
Richard had landed to collect number 5 so some of the birds followed him. I managed to gather the rest and we again headed on course.  RODEO.
Finally, after an hour, we decided that the birds were never going to stick with us for the entire trip and we called it off. By this time the pen was half disassembled and the ground team had to scramble to move the truck.

Chat mod said it was #9 who wouldnt exit the pen.  
It was #5 the yellow band male who has caused some problems before.
I knew I heard the truck drive up.

Dec 14, Saturday  Russellville, Franklin/Winston County, AL stop 15
OM grounded in Winston County, Alabama today.

If you are as lost as I am as to WHERE OM is today,
The birds are in Russellville or Franklin/Winston County, Alabama, Stop 15
Stop 14 was Tennessee.  They are outta there.
2 birds flew 57 miles from TN to Alabama on Dec.  12, 6 stubborn mulebirds were crated there.
Maybe NO one is reading this, but when I saw the pencam late Dec. 13, I wondered where they are.
This is the location I am using

Dec 13  late afternoon in Winston County, Alabama - maybe   Laughing
After some bad camera angles, now we have a beautiful camera angle of the pen.
Too bad the signal is so poor all I get is occasional PEEP PRRRRRRREEEEEPs and a cam burp.
Good, they finally washed off the dummy.

Whoever the tume was today, I saw his fingers holding a cob of corn.
11.20 am  I heard several gunshots. Cranes heard them too.
About noon I saw something in the field.  15 minutes later it wasnt there.
Cam is giving still shots very far apart - not video.

Dec 15, Sunday Russellville, Franklin/Winston County, AL NO FLY stop 15
Strong north winds and low cloud ceilings will keep OM grounded for another day in Winston County, Alabama.
7.30 am  I hear crows, cows, and I think I heard sandhill cranes
The hanging dummy really gets in the way of good pics.
They have a white feather - evidently - in a water pan they are playing with
image- 4 or 8
8.00 - 2 tumes arrive

D.A.R. Whooping Cranes
DAR is the sister organization of OM.
DAR Whooping Cranes Released at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge

December 12, 2013
 4 of the 2013 D.A.R. Whooping Cranes have died.  (How was not reported.)
Endangered species reintroduction has many variables to over come
Dec 11 a team went to find 4 cranes, capture them and ship them south.  With winter freezing over the marsh and a dwindling food supply it was a drastic measure to keep from loosing them.
3 cranes had migrated and are in northern IL, one returned and was crated.

November 12, 2013  report
The deaths of 2 wild-hatched chicks were discovered October 2 near Necedah.
A parent-reared juvenile #21-13 was collected October 2 on the shoulder of a public road by Necedah.
The scavenged remains of parent-reared juvenile #20-13 were collected October 15 at Necedah.
Wild-hatched female #W1-10 died in captivity November 2.
The remains of DAR #53-13 were discovered November 13 on Horicon.

One of the DAR cranes was killed by a predator.

OM volunteer Geoff Tarbox described the cranes on August 14, 2013.
He really loves each crane and I love reading what he writes.
I added my own observations on migration.

Crane #1  FEMALE  -  WHITE band
The alpha female, the Diva, the queen of the group.  Some call her Dora the explorer.
She was not afraid to chase off the 2 yearlings from last year if they get too close.
Cranes 1 and 4 are getting their adult voices

Chick #2  FEMALE  black band
The space cadet and often seems off in her own world.

RIP  September 2014  class of 2013 UPDATE
Sadly #1 and 2 females died returning to Wisconsin from Florida.

June 2014  FJ wrote - This spring we lost female #1-13 and her cohort mate #3-13 who were
killed when they struck power lines on the return trip from Florida.

Chick #3  MALE -  RED band[/color]    -  the nut
Impressionable. Brooke recalls him being an attentive follower to the costume and the trike.
During summer, sometimes he'd lay down on the runway during a training session.
That was last summer.  On migration he's been in the "flapparama zone".
Evidently Oct 25 he spent some time in the lead.  Good boy.  He's learnin.
October 29  Heather described #3 as "a nut."
Nov. 29 - #3 is being a real problem child. he flew part way then dropt out, had to be crated.
Dec. 12 this guy was one of only 2 who flew to Alabama.  All 6 others crated.

Chick #4 MALE blue band
He got back pack transmitter 9-14 which had to be removed after a couple days.
Attentive to the costume and to the trike until late September when they changed.
On migration he is a good flier now, after being crated Oct 2, the first stop.
Dec. 12 this guy was one of only 2 who flew to Alabama.  All 6 others crated.
Cranes 1 and 4 are getting their adult voices


Chick #5 MALE YELLOW band 2013
#5 is attentive to the costume and to the trike until late September when they changed.
The first day of migration he was all over the place, wouldnt follow trike, finally had to be crated.
He holds his own in the pen on migration. Not aggressive tho.
Several times he has caused problems along migration.  
Dec. 13 he refused to exit the pen with the others.

Chick #6 was never sent to OM in Wisconsin

Chick #7  MALE  - ORANGE band  
He also  got back pack transmitters 9-14, later removed
007 is the dominent bird in the pen, he even stands up to the Queen, #1.
On migration he is a good flyer, but he did have to be crated Oct 22.

Chick #8  FEMALE light blue band
The little sister gets scared of things a little more easily than the other birds do.
On migration she limped a couple days, OM gave her meds in grapes for pain and swelling.  She was fine.
She is a grape fiend.  She will steal others grapes.  She holds her own, not shy.  I like her!

Chick #9  MALE Green band
He got *back pack transmitters 9-14, later removed
The youngest bird in the bunch. He holds his own against the other cranes.
*  The back pack transmitters annoyed the birds too much and were removed.

Oct 2 - 4 cranes flew to the new 1st migration stop, #1, #7, #8 and #9 - the other 4 had to be crated.
Oct 22 only 2 flew to Green Co, #1 and #4, the other 6 had to be crated.

July 9 the crane chicks arrive back in Wisconsin from Florida
Sadly, 2 were lost returning  Sad

Dec 16-17  NO FLY, winds
Russellville, Franklin/Winston County, AL stop 15

Dec. 16 temp 29  frost covers ground.  OM tried to fly -   NO GO, winds, poor visibility
I wish OM didnt have the dummy front and center in the pen.
And I wish OM didnt drop the topnet BEFORE birds leave - it completely blocks view.

6.30   pen cam LIVE
6.39  I hear a cardinal singing
6.51  no trike cam again - its broken.  o well, trike cams froze almost right after takeoff - so really no loss
7.13  tume walking along treeline to pen
7.20  net top falls down so we cant see well anymore - dang it!  Cant they wait 15 minites?
 -   Now cam focuses on near net and we cant see anything.  shucks.
7.42  NO GO, winds

I think birds heard trike, they let out a LOUD  WHOOP.  #1 and #4 are getting their adult voices.
  It really sounded as if the bird screamed - O NO!  I wanna GO!

Cranes getting adult voices are practicing screaming

crane vocalizations

A wild crane was seen at lower end of Lake Kissimmee last week

To watch whooper chix fly next time, click

Bye bye Joe!  Sad
Joe Duff, Pilot and speaker rep for OM, has left OM to go home for a family Christmas.
Dec. 16  Joe reported
- Normally we break for Christmas but this year staff and volunteers all agreed to carry on, however, I will not be with them. I have a 14 year old daughter at home whom I have not seen since early September. My wife of 15 years has spent a large part of that time as a single parent. But there is a limit to her tolerance and my dedication. Brooke will take over my flying.

Dec 18 FLEW to Clanton, Chilton County, AL stop 17
Dawn Pen temp 36 - Its a GO day!  Flight was exactly 2 hours.
Cranes #1, 3, 4 and 9 flew all the way,  2, 5, 7 and 8 were crated
NO pen cam

Pilots Rich (lead) and Brooke - now that Joe is gone.  Walt in tracking van.
It sounded as if the pilots disagreed in the hanger about continuing to fly or rodeo and crating.
Its too bad Brooke didnt keep flying with the 2 birds who were flying - but thats 2nd guessing.
HeatherRayOM- kept us updated via texts to Ruckus

6.47 am  hangar doors opened - I see frost on ground
6.55  pilots hearing an "annoying" noise - they dont know what it is

7.28   Takeoff from hangar
7.32   BIRDS OUT (ruckus2-1: Launched 7.32 )
7:37 -  Richard has 7 birds, problem child crane #5 in pen
7:51 ruckus -  From Heather -- rodeo - #5 out of the pen
7:54 ruckus -  From Heather -  rvh has 4  Brooke 4
8:15 ruckus - From Heather - 2 dropped out but Brooke has sight of the birds,  Richard contining with his 4
8:19 ruckus -  From Heather   SKIP!
8:23 ruckus -   BP bringing his 4 back -- rvh going south with his 4
8:24 ruckus  -  BP just landed with his 4
9:17 ruckus  -   From Heather:   loading birds in boxes now  #2, 5, 7, and 8
9:27 - RVH is descending and slowly circling towards new landing site
9.31  landing in Chilton County
9.50  Rich takes his 4 birds on a little walk

2:33 LizCondie - RVH said that if we'd have had cooperative birds today we could have made it to Pike County. He had 80mph+ airspeed.
Joe Duff is in top 20 for eagle rare contest - we got email today from eagle rare

After dropping off his 4 cranes, Brooke flew and caught up to Richard.
Heck, if Richard was doing 80 mph - Brooke musta been doing over 100 mph!

That idiot Tommy has to post times every 2 minutes.  What an obnoxious attention freek.
Do you think I am exaggerating?  Look at this.  OM never had a crane #6

Chilton County, Alabama December 18, 2013 by Heather
December 18 was another long day that included a skipped stopover, crating 4 cranes and a tire blow out.
Turns out this was the exact location where Joe Duff blew the exact same tire last year!
Hey Heather?  You can only ask just so much of a tire - face it - it was - tired!
2 images on link

December 19-23  Clanton, Chilton County, AL stop 17 NO FLY
Chilton is dead center Alabama between Birmingham and Montgomery.
Down another day in Chilton County, Alabama.

December 23  The rain on cranes is only a pain - for the crew.  The birds love it!
Some of the young cranes are getting RED on their heads
All are getting whiter

December 21  -  A real bustle-blowing wind!  Cranes fiesty, jumpin n flappin.

December 18, 2013 LEAD PILOT Report, Richard van Heuvelen
7 birds took off with the trike. We were flying about 30 miles per hour. A few miles went by and we quickly gained altitude when suddenly, for no apparent reason two birds veered off and headed back. The rest continued on but soon they too headed back and the now famous sky rodeo ensued with birds and trikes slicing through the air trying to find each other.

I emerged with 4 birds and decided to keep going and get these 4 birds away from the flying circus. They cooperated and a few miles out we turned very slowly on course. As the miles went by, we gained altitude and ground speed simultaneously and soon we found ourselves doing 65 miles per hour at 4500 feet above sea level. Having lost contact with Brooke over Walker county we decided to continue on for Chilton county and arrived there 45 minutes later.

Dec 18, 2013 video Richard takes off with 7 cranes
They depart from Winston County, Alabama migration stop.

12-18  Trike and birds FLIGHT video

On ground after skip

Christmas,  Dec 25 , DOWN Chilton County, AL stop 17
6.30 am  pen cam on - frost on ground
5.45 am  The 8 cranedeer wanted to fly - BUT

Merry Cranemas from the cranedeer!
Dasher7, Dancer8, Prancer4, Vixen1,
Comet5, Cupid9, Donner2 and Blitzkreig - I mean - Blitzen #3

6.45  Pilots putting trikes together.  No hanger so they were folded.
Cam showed Brooke and Rich, Rich turned cam to the sky.  NOT nice.
6:47 grandmakaryn-1: did someone get coal in stocking

6.48  -  2 flat tires on Brooke's trike! -  pilot said o sh** (twice) - he owes the cuss jar!
 -  Pity the pilots didnt check the trikes yesterday.  One tire needed to be replaced entirely.

7.39  trikes finally fired up - one doesnt sound too good.
7.45 -  pilot said -  I knew Santa'd bring me something today - but I didnt know it'd be a flat tire.
7.46   TWO cranes are WHOOPING
7.48   trike takes off
7:51 ruckus2-1: From H:  Down Headwinds
Strong SE headwinds aloft

Explanation of aerodynamics and teamwork
Dec. 23, 2013  Joe Duff
- Conditions Need to be Just Right

Dec 26, Thursday Clanton, Chilton County, AL stop 17
FLEW to Troy, Pike Cty AL   

6.14 am  Hearing coyotes screaming and sandhill cranes purring on pen cam

46 miles to stop 18 - Lowndes and 64 to Troy - 110 miles if they skip Lowndes

7.08   Richards trike engine started, pilot mentioned cloud cover
Cranes 4 and 8 had a flap off in the pen
7.12  Brooke starts his trike
cranes KNOW they're flying - they are jumpin n flappin - they can hear trikes
7.22  Richard airborn checking winds aloft.  He didnt sound hopeful on the ground.
7.23  Brooke airborn
7.23  -  Cranes hear trikes and peep / scream and fly,run to gate excitedly

Brooke lead pilot, Richard chase

7.37  Heather and Colleen or Jo are talking, no trike noise
 -  Their air horns didnt sound as scary as crane #9s  HONK!  He has his adult voice!  Heather whistled.

7.30 birds out, 8.30 now - less than a 1 hour trip - Brook still high - they ARE skipping!
- but Heather is not updating us at all and pen cam quit after birds out
8:49 Jeanne  -  SKIP   (finally, a report from Heather)
bugs flyover report - all 8 birds lined up perfectly, Brooke a little off course
10.10 am  landing in Pike County
  Richard landed first.  trikes parked.

If you hear a LOUD WHOOP,  #9 had his adult voice.

December 26, 2013 Migration Day: 86
Dist. Traveled: 110 miles
Location:  Pike County, Alabama
ALL 8 birds flew 2 legs behind Brooke
, proving 3 swamp monsters are better than two.

As Colleen and Geoff prepared to open the pen doors this morning, I stood hidden at the back of the pen, behind one of the panels that provides a visual barrier. At my feet was a very scary brown/green plastic tarp with a hole cut into it so I could see out once it was placed over my head.
Crane #5 stayed in the pen as his pals left with Brooke.
He took one look at Heathertume and took off, catching up to Brooke and the other 7 flyers.
Then Richard called for all swamp monsters at the pen.  A couple others were returning to the pen so Heather, Colleen, Geoff convinced them they are no longer welcome here.
Soon Brooke had all 8 locked onto his wingtip for a SKIP to Pike County, Alabama – the last of our Alabama stopovers!  
The END of central time.  Next stop will be eastern time zone.

Brooke Pennypacker, lead pilot report December 26, 2013 (edited)
Dec. 25 I didn’t notice a hole in my trike tire because the trike was standing in a pool of water from a recent storm.
There was frost buildup in the space between the surface of our wings and our frost covers.
Then head winds grounded us.

Dec. 26 Colleen and Geoff threw open the pen doors as Heather, wearing the new swamp monster tarp, sprang into bird view from behind the pen trailer and we were off.  The birds blasted out of the pen, into the sky and after a short period of adjustment lined up behind the trike as we proceeded on course.

Soon a tailwind added to our ground speed and we skipt a stop.
We landed in a wind stronger than expected, and I led the birds off to hide while Richard and Walt set up the pen.  The birds and I were soon met by a herd of cattle which, being from the Jersey Shore, I could identify immediately as black cows.
Before long the birds were safely in the pen and the trikes were safely in a barn.

When the Music's Not Forgotten - Lyrics

Dec 27-29  DOWN in Troy, Pike Cty, AL stop 19  

Dec. 27 - DOWN - 7 am  test trike went up to check winds aloft, headwinds too strong
I had a feeling the pilots didnt expect to fly today, and I saw rain in Gulf moving north.
The pen cam signal is so bad here its almost non-existent.
I did get one good pic.

If you hear a LOUD WHOOP,  #9 had his adult voice

OM video - Forgotten

When the Music's Not Forgotten - Lyrics

Dec 30, Monday OM Left Troy, Pike Cty, AL stop 19
FLEW and SKIPT to  Bainbridge, Decatur County, GA on the border AL-GA-FL, stop 21

2 hours 45 minutes flying time today
Richard is lead pilot, Brooke chase
Joe Duff is back with OM
6.30 am pen cam and flight cam both on

7.16 am  Richard starts his engine.  He appears to hate the cam.  
- cranes hear the engine, getting excited, flapping, peeping and one honking
7.22  takeoff from base
-  #9 crane honking a lot, repeatedly - eager to FLY

-  Launch time 7.26 central time
I hear Heather coughing - as usual.  She is ready with 3 swamp monsters
7.28  All 8 cranes en route in the air.  Heather is laughing.
Birds fighting for who leads
7.35  I hear a trike - and the 3 SM are out on the runway - H is laughing

7.41  SM Geoff Heather and ? took tarps off - so all birds must be on their way

OM has crossed into eastern time zone.
8.30 (about)  cam froze at the Alabama-Georgia border
8.43/9.43  SKIPPING

10:13/11.15   Everyone is on the Ground! Smile
-  Launch time 7.26 central time
-  Landing time 11.15 eastern time zone in Bainbridge, Decatur County, GA on the border AL-GA-FL
-  2 hours 45 minutes flying time

Date: December 30, 2013 Decatur County, GEORGIA!
All 8 cranes flew 124 miles today!

Crew went to Leon County, Florida and setup the travel pen one final time. Leon County is the last migration stop prior to St. Marks.
Swamp monsters not needed today, all 8 cranes lined up behind Richard. Some time into the flight, crane #3 broke away and
began to descend so Brooke dropped down to pick him up and escorted him the rest of the flight.

Brooke lead pilot, Richard chase
eastern time zone
7.52  engines on
8.00 trike leaves base
Jobel chatted with us, saying several cars parked to watch takeoff
8. 05  LAUNCH - Birds out
8:39  Birds in pen at Leon, FL, smooth flight
Landed in Leon County, (Tallahassee), FL, stop 22

December 31, 2013   Leon County, FLORIDA!
Lead pilot Brooke Pennypacker had a uneventful 43 mile flight from Decatur County, GA to Leon County, FL.
The finish line is in site! Only 28 miles to go and we’re hoping the weather tomorrow allows us to deliver some Whooping cranes to the St. Marks NWR to kick of 2014!

LEAD PILOT Report Dec. 30, 2013  Richard

Track OM

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Decatur Alabama

Wheeler provides continuing refuge for cranes
Several pairs of whooping cranes winter each year at Wheeler.
In January 2012 OM had to leave their charges here.  They are doing fine.
January 11, 2014, the refuge will celebrate the second annual Festival of the Cranes.

OM migration halted
January 29, 2012  Joe Duff

Whoopers released at Wheeler - they just refused to continue to follow trikes


Jan. 1-4, 2014,  DOWN in Leon County Florida -

Sad  Unfortunately the next couple days DO NOT look good to fly

Jan. 4  OM tried the flight but air too rough to fly
HeatherRay said the 2 white birds #4 and 5 from 2012 group are in the winter pen

Jan. 1 - Rain all over the entire area
Jan. 2 - Wind and rain moving the top net around.  Doesnt bother cranes tho.
Jan. 3 - Northwind too strong - tomorrow, conditions look very good.

Brooke Pennypacker
Jan. 3, 2014  Late lead pilot report

The longest distance in a journey is the last step, as the prospects for the St Marks Flyover delay til 2014.
The chicks and I climbed together with a slight tailwind from Georgia to Florida.
Soon we were down, birds in the pen and again airborne to hangar the trikes.
Brooke is such a romantic!

World's Last Flock of Wild Whooping Cranes Returns to Texas
November 2013  AUSTIN, Texas
- The world's last flock of wild whooping cranes is arriving in Texas, as the endangered birds make their annual winter migration to the coast from northern Canada. The flock now numbers around 300.
In 2008 and 2009 around 23 of the whooping cranes died during winter on the Texas coast during drought conditions, but the population has been growing slowly. The whooping cranes will winter around the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge until about March, before migrating nearly 2,500 miles back to northern Canada and their summer breeding grounds. In total, about 600 whooping cranes live in North America.
More information about whooping cranes is available at

Operation Migration haunting song - forgotten

When the Music's Not Forgotten - Lyrics Forum Index -> Misc Page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum