Successful Training Flight!

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 (#2-13, #3-13 & #5-13) 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.

Here’s a 5 minute clip of the action.

No doubt about it, this cohort is almost ready to begin their first-ever southward migration to Florida behind our aircraft! The only problem is we do not, as yet, have the funding in place to take them all the way there.

Currently the MileMaker Campaign sits at $45,495.00, which is equivalent to 227 miles funded of the 1113 mile trip. This means that as of today, we have enough funding in place to get them to the halfway point in Illinois… Still a long way from Florida.

Yes, MileMaker contributions usually do pick up once the migration gets underway but there are quite a few nervous OM folks, hoping to begin the journey with funding in place to reach at least Tennessee before we even start.

Can you help?

whooping cranes follow aircraft

All eight young cranes line up behind Brooke. Photo: Sara Duff Sonntag

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  1. Margie Tomlinson September 12, 2013 7:17 pm

    “Wonaful ah Wonaful….Please turn ON the bubble machine!” Great footage from the “Zoomie” driving the LiveCam that day! Sooooo pround of our birdies – hangin’ in there so long and beautiful to see!!!

  2. ohn S. Perilloux September 6, 2013 11:34 am

    This is a great photo, Sara. Not the classic photo showing a straight line of whoopers from the trailing edge of the UL wing, but a not-so-easy capture of an unruly group of youngsters all in one frame. Thanks.