Tomorrow Looking Possible

Looking ahead to tomorrow morning it appears that we may just be able to make a break for it and continue heading south.

Skies will be clear so it will be very chilly (27F) and surface winds should be light and from the north-northeast. Aloft, we should have 5 knots and likewise from the northeast.

If you’d like to make the drive out in the morning the flyover location is at the Cemetery on County Road J: From Lodi, take WI-60 Trunk E/Portage St. for about 1/2 mile. Turn left onto Lindsay Road which will become County Road J. Cemetery is on left in just over 1 mile. Google Map

Be sure to dress warm and don’t forget your camera!

If you do get chilly, we’ll have lots of Wild for WHOOPERS Sweatshirts available :-)

W I N D ! ! ! (and SNOW)

I don’t need to wait for a pilot to wake up this morning to provide an opinion on flying conditions. The wind buffeting the RV tells the tale. Winds aloft are a rather hefty 40 knots and as if that’s not already enough to keep us grounded, it’s snowing.

There will be no planes, cranes, ghosts or goblins flying today. Happy Halloween everyone!


Share Button

Looking Ahead 12 Hours

Weather sites are forecasting light winds from the south on the surface for early morning.

Aloft, winds will be from the west and anywhere from 5 to 10 knots.

These conditions certainly aren’t ideal but they may allow us to advance to our Green County stopover.

At the very least we’ll likely be putting up a trike to check conditions for ourselves and if we determine a flight is possible, we’ll be leaving quickly.

We have a public flyover location at our current stop so if you would like to make the trip, knowing there is a chance you may, or may not see the young cranes with their aircraft guides, here is a link to a Google map showing the location to gather:

Sunrise occurs at approximately 7:30 CDT so you will need to be on site shortly thereafter.

Standing Down

Winds were causing the RV to bounce most of the night. We’ll be staying put in Columbia County, Wisconsin today – Day 20 of the 2014 migration.

Strong winds from the northwest will keep us grounded for today.

Strong winds from the northwest will keep us grounded for today.

Share Button

CHIP IN for Whooping Cranes!

Have you purchased your CHIP yet?

Purchase a 2014 Whooping crane Chip from our Marketplace for $20. Each Chip is individually numbered and contains an alpha/numeric code. A portion of the proceeds from each Chip helps to support Whooping crane recovery.

As soon as you receive your Chip in the mail, visit to register your name and email, along with your Chip number and code.

Over the next few months, we’ll be holding random draws for some fun items so keep an eye on your inbox.

Once all the Chips are gone, we’ll hold FOUR additional draws:

  • Two for CITGO gas cards, valued at $100 each.
  • $500 CASH
  • A flight back seat with our CEO, Joe Duff as pilot, while he flies in the chase position with the Class of 2014/15 Whooping cranes!

There are only 1000 Chips available, so be sure to order yours soon so you don’t miss out!


Get YOUR Chip Now!

Strong winds…

Will keep us grounded in Columbia Co., Wisconsin for day 19 of the southward migration.

Winds are currently blowing on the surface at a healthy 10 mph and from the west. Aloft at 3,000 ft. they’re much stronger at 25 knots (28.7 mph).

Share Button


South winds – both on the surface and aloft will keep us grounded for the day in Columbia County, Wisconsin.

Looking back at last year, we were at the same location on Day 18 of the 2013 migration.


Share Button

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.

Date: Oct. 26, 2014 Migration Day: 17
Dist. Traveled: 28 miles
Total Dist. 47 miles
Location: Columbia Co., WI

Considering cranes 2, 7, and 9 had backpacks attached in mid-September and number 4-14 has been having leg issues which resulted in major setbacks in training opportunities, as well as disrupting their trust and willingness to follow us.

That left us with only 3, 8 and 10-14 unaffected although the disruption did slow them down as well. Whooping cranes 3 and 8 were the two birds that climbed out of the trashy air at our previous stop and again today they persevered and were able to get to the stop in Columbia County. Number 10 was following well pre-September but probably was distracted by the other four birds who landed out.

So cranes 3 and 8 are today’s stars and hopefully the others will get back on track soon before too long, otherwise they may be singing born on the bayou in Louisiana. Meanwhile, with the current weather forecast, we may be singing stuck in Lodi again

Share Button

FEATURED PRODUCT – Wild for Whoopers!

Our NEW Wild For WHOOPERS Sweatshirt is available in indigo blue or sand and is c o m f o r t a b l e…

A great deal at only $30 – and in time to layer up for winter!

Available in sizes ranging from Small to XX large, these GILDAN brand lightweight sweatshirts are perfect for layering or on their own. Features an adult whooping crane with outstretched wings and the words ‘WILD FOR WHOOPERS’ – Perfect for Craniacs!

Visit our MarketPlace today to get yours! 

Orders yours today!

Orders yours today! 

Lingering Fog

Yesterday’s fog was predicted to dissipate by 10am. In actuality, it hung around till noon and it reappeared quickly last evening and is still here this morning.

By the time it moves on, winds will have picked up to be too strong to attempt a flight today so we’ll be standing down for day 16.

*Note: last year on Day 16 we arrived in Columbia County, WI, (our next planned stopover) so we’re not too far off of last year’s pace.

Impressions of a Volunteer…

I’m Steve Schildwachter and I am fortunate to be one of the volunteers given the chance to help out as part of the ground crew for this year’s migration. As a long time investor in Operation Migration this has been an opportunity to experience how my financial investment is paying off in reintroducing a sustainable flock of whooping cranes to the eastern part of the continent.

Two weeks ago I drove from Florida to Wisconsin to start my two week detail with the migration. During my time with the crew I have come to appreciate the talent and dedication shown by all. A typical day starts around 5am when Joe heads out to check on weather conditions.  Heather is also up and sending out updates to everyone. If there is even the slightest chance the birds may fly, the rest of the crew preps the RV’s for the move to the next location.

The pilots move the trikes to the runway; the bird crew heads to the pen; the chase crew drives out in the tracking van to a location from which they can follow the birds as they fly south and the ground crew heads out with the webcams. Then we wait…  We wait for the wind to blow at just the right speed and from just the right direction and be stable enough to allow the birds to surf behind the wing.

Steve Schildwacht steps in to play the role of CraneCam operator.

Steve Schildwachter steps in to play the role of CraneCam operator.

We wait for the frost to melt off the wings of the trikes. We wait for the fog to lift.  Conditions have to be just right to give the cranes their best chance of getting to their next stop. The last two weeks the weather just hasn’t cooperated. You can hear the frustration and disappointment over the radios when the pilots are aloft and find fog or turbulence or a headwind, which will not allow the birds to fly today.

But you know that the conditions will, one morning, then another, then another, all come together and the cranes will fly south – getting closer and closer to their new winter home in St. Marks NWR in Wakulla County, Florida.

Then we’ll go online one morning next spring and read that the birds have left St. Marks and are following the migration route they learned – this migration route we are slowing teaching them right now, and flying back to Wisconsin.  Then we’ll learn from one of the WCEP partners that one of the cranes from this year’s migration has partnered up with another and is sitting on a nest in some marsh in Wisconsin.  Then we’ll see the picture of the chick and remember why we donate our money, contribute to the MileMaker campaigns, give a Whoop… why we have all invested in the future of this species.

So as I end my two week detail with the migration I’d like to thank the seven cranes, Joe, Heather, Brooke, Colleen, Geoff, Jo-Anne, Richard and Walter for putting up with me for the past two weeks. But more importantly I’d like to thank all of you who financially invest in the future of the whooping crane and enable this dedicated crew to continue their work.

Ed. Note: Steve, THANK YOU for the time, passion, interest and funds you have invested in the 2014 migration and in Whooping crane conservation. See you when we reach Florida!

1 2 3 4 80