Monday, October 20, 2008

Ultralight aircraft lead endangered birds during migration

On Friday the 17th, 14 Whooping Cranes followed ultralight aircraft from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin to begin their fall migration to wintering habitat on Florida's Gulf Coast.

The group of young, endangered birds are the eighth flock in an annual program coordinated by Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. The birds will follow four ultralights on a new route Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Their final destination: Chassahowitzka and St. Marks national wildlife refuges.

From a press release by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Southeast regional office:

“We are excited about the migration this year,” said Joe Duff, CEO of Operation Migration, the WCEP partner that leads the ultralight migration. “The new migration route offers opportunities for increased outreach and conservation education. Also, we know it will be safer, and we hope it will be faster.”
The ultralight pilots and support crew post updates along the way, so you can check their In The Field journal to learn of progress and challenges along the new route.

Click on the map to see a larger version.

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