Logistics is a word that adequately describes all the stuff that needs to be done at the end of the migration. First of all the birds had to be carefully moved to Wheeler NWR. Their pen was set up in a wet area of an open field with a panoramic view of feeding Sandhills and a few Whooping cranes. Part of the pen includes some water, and they were happy to poke and prod.

When we backed the vehicle in to unload the crates, the back axle dropped into a rut. No amount of pushing helped. Lisa, one of the refuge staff members, hooked a tow rope to her pick up. It wasn’t hard to pull the vehicle out, but the road we were on was curved. I was pointing one way and she was, out of necessity, pulling from another. As we cleared the mud the tow rope wrapped around the tire and ripped out the brake line.

Once the trucks were out of sight we could release the birds and watch them play in the muck while we said our goodbye.

After that came a whole list of chores, like getting the brakes fixed, winterizing all the motorhomes and delivering them to where they will be needed next year. While Brooke relocated his mobile living quarters to Wheeler, a caravan left heading in the general direction of Washington, DC with Richard, Geoff and Caleb. The aircraft trailer was packed then delivered to Florida where it will next be used at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in May when we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. If you are in the Orlando area on the weekend of May 12, come join us.

Safely in the pen

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