Whooping cranes follow aircraft in flight

After a late start due to early morning fog, Joe makes a slow pass by the public viewing area with seven Whooping cranes trailing behind his small aircraft shortly before 8am CT today.

We were able to snap a few images as they veered east and into the rising sun.

Joe continued along with seven Whooping cranes lined up nicely with his aircraft, while Richard van Heuvelen flew in the chase position – slightly behind and at a higher altitude so as not to disturb or spook the cranes following Joe.

The eighth young crane (#9-13) landed just off the north end of the runway a couple of minutes after launching with the aircraft. A few minutes after these images were captured, another crane, number 5-13 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.

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One Comment

  1. Margie Tomlinson September 17, 2013 2:38 pm

    What a wonderful start to our morning for so many of us! The pilots
    and birdies did not fail to do their job and entertain us all! They are doing so well, I still feel there will be an early start to the Migration!
    I agree that a couple of them, especially #5 & #8 this morning, still need more training time, but on the whole the cohort looks really good and ready to go! Thanks to all who are providing this great show and revival of our beloved Whooping Cranes from the edge of extinction!