Thank You OM!

Guest Author – Doug (the tume) Pellerin

I’m writing this still in disbelief of what happened to OM and the ultralight program after all these years of hard work and dedication.

I would like to thank Joe Duff for giving me the fantastic opportunity to work with endangered whooping cranes. It’s something that I will never forget. I must also thank the rest of the team, Heather, Brooke, Richard, Tom, Colleen, Geoff, Jeff and Jo-Anne. Without their hard work and the dedication of other organizations there wouldn’t be any whooping cranes on the landscape like what we see today.

The last five years working with the whooping crane as a costumed crane handler has been an amazing experience. Especially seeing the young colts arrive at the White River Marsh each year and watching them grow into beautiful adults. One of my favorite things besides being in the pen with the birds was watching the trikes come out of the sky every morning and landing on the runway. For some reason I always enjoyed that part of the training.

It was also interesting as the trike would come down, you could always hear the young birds in the pen getting so excited in the anticipation of a flight. I will miss seeing the morning sun and the people who came out to the blind to witness the flight training. I always enjoyed meeting with and talking to other people and sharing my experience. I would like to thank each and every person who did come to the blind. Thank you for your encouragement and support of Operation Migration.

I will continue to do my best to help whoopers anyway I can in the future.

Thanks again and WHOOP! WHOOP!

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  1. Mrs. Nally January 27, 2016 12:48 pm

    Could there be a way to continue with a good environmental lawyer and more public awareness ???

  2. Dorothy N January 27, 2016 8:45 am

    I’m so thankful for all that you have done, Doug and Mako, and for the many and beautiful photos you have shared with us. Now I’m just asking — what is next? What is the plan for the eastern flock? What is the plan for OM’s involvement? There is a huge hole going forward right now; waiting to fill it will mean losses for the flock. What can we do to help?????

  3. Doug Pellerin January 27, 2016 8:28 am

    Thank you all. I’m overwhelmed from all the kind comments that you all said about me and OM. WOW!

  4. Margie Tomlinson January 27, 2016 6:35 am

    Dear Doug, So nice to read about your thoughts & experiences with the OM Team. Can’t say enough “thank you’s” for all you’ve done to help take care of our Whoopers, too. Your photos are wonderful, and i love hearing you speak. Reminded me of my Uncle Dean in WI. All
    best wishes to you and all the OM Staff in the days ahead!

  5. Chris and Charlie Linnell January 27, 2016 6:28 am

    Doug, thank you for your volunteer efforts supporting Operation Migration. You have been one of the Whooping cranes intuitive caregivers providing a safe environment for them. More importantly, your legacy may be the incredible photo documentation of Operation Migration’s trike flights, “tumes” daily interactions, plus the colts in the pens and their progress as they grew. It’s magnificent! We thank YOU for your excellent history of this remarkable journey called Operation Migration.

  6. Kim Shrake January 26, 2016 8:57 pm

    Many in heaven and on Earth will miss the daily connections with each other, but must continue doing what we can to educate others and enjoy God’s gifts. Thanks for all you have done over the years Doug and I know will continue to do. I’m sure I’ll see you and Vethe’s around in the schools somewhere or other.

  7. Catherine Wohlfeil January 26, 2016 8:10 pm

    We all thank you for what you’ve done to make craniacs of each and every one of us. That is a true gift of a lifetime.

    Your photographs set to music were enjoyed through tear filled eyes by many on-line chatters during the recent migration flight and would be wonderful sources of inspiration as public service announcements for OM, endangered species, and whooping crane protection, and in future presentations, seminars and national speaking tours by OM members.

    These flights and the dedication of the OM staff inspire us all to do more and to believe more is possible. May the Lord find a way to continue this operation and may the flights continue into the future and for many years to come. So keep dancing and keep looking to the skies. The cranes must return.

    Thank you for all you’ve given us in support of the future of both cranes and OM. Your enthusiasm and love of cranes has made craniacs of each of us as we watched those young and gentle spirits raise their wings for the first time in flight and follow their hope up and up into their future. You have instilled the spirit of the cranes in all of us. Thank you…

  8. Ann Rogers January 26, 2016 8:01 pm

    Doug, I am one of the folks you so graciously agreed to allow into the blind last summer. We were at the Oshkosh air show, and I just accidentally found out about the OM viewing. I had heard of your organization, but didn’t realize how close we were to the training site. Although I am not an early riser, I was thrilled to get up at 4:30 AM to come watch the training. We loved being able to meet and talk to you and Joe. To me, that was the highlight of our 2.5 month summer trip! I have followed the progress of the training and migration ever since, and felt sucker-punched when I read the news that it will be discontinued. My best to you and Joe and Brooke and the whole team. Hopefully, we will find a way to continue working with these magnificent birds.

  9. Lu Duncan Frank January 26, 2016 6:10 pm

    Two words, thank you!

  10. Nancy January 26, 2016 6:05 pm

    Have enjoyed following your e-mails and pictures of the whooping cranes the past year. Very disappointed to hear the operation is closing down. You all flee very close to my home this past fall in Harding, IL. I was at the cemetery. God bless all of you for your good work.

  11. Carolyn O`Donnell January 26, 2016 4:52 pm

    Enjoyed the pictures and many thanks. I started a picture album in 2008 from the Star Banner newspaper, and pictures I took at the Dunnellon Airport and Animal Kingdom at Disney. The last entry I printed is “End of Ultralight Migration.. .. Very sad.

    Good luck to all OM team.

  12. Dora Giles January 26, 2016 4:44 pm

    Doug (Dtume). Thank you for your dedication to and for these magnificent birds. I have only been a “craniac” for 3 years (2013 first year with #1-13 – Dora The Explorer. She was very special to me as it was my first year and my name is Dora. I became hooked on whooping cranes due to my brother (pensflyboy) Thank you for your pictures – always beautiful. Thank you for your signs, crance dances and enjoyment that showed thru each time you were with the whoopers. Hopefully there will be more migrations in the future that we can all enjoy along with you. I pray for that to happen.
    Dora (opal10)


  13. Russell Allison January 26, 2016 4:09 pm

    Doug ,I too want to thank you for all you have done for the Whoopers. I met you a couple of times at the festivals. All the OM group will never be thanked enough. I hope this is not the end , only a new beginning. Go Whoopers.

  14. CrabtowneMd January 26, 2016 3:34 pm

    Your reminiscence is wonderful, but best of all has been the magnificent photos you have shared with so many. Thank you for all your time and talent. To all the crane handlers and tume makers, a heartfelt Thank you and God Bless.

  15. Pam January 26, 2016 3:06 pm


    Thank you for your many hours spent in the pen and guiding people like me into the observation blind. Your pictures are amazing, too.

  16. Stacey Bivens January 26, 2016 2:10 pm

    Darn. As soon as I think I’ve finally gotten myself composed, I start to cry again. Doug, thank you so much for your dedication to OM, and especially to the cranes. Through you and your photos, you gave us the gift of seeing the colts up close, watching them grow until it was their time to claim the sky. I was blessed to visit the blind twice, and my fellow visitors and I could not have had a more gracious guide than you. Many blessings and peace to you.

  17. Diana Hanson January 26, 2016 1:49 pm

    Doug and all of OM thank you for all you do. The photo of the “Royal Couple” with the chicks says more than words can describe about the incredible success OM has achieved. The RC is there to also teach the chicks — remember the posturing! The impact of OM’s work to date at WRM and St. Marks could well be amplified year after year in spite of the short sighted, ignorant bureaucratic decisions. OM let us know what we — the craniacs — can do to preserve and foster the amazing gift you have bestowed on all of us.

  18. Bobbie (piscesbobbie) January 26, 2016 1:23 pm

    Thank you Mr. DTume. I look back now and I think of your Happy Dance and your GIVE A WHOOP sign to get us all started in the morning. I hope you will be able to continue to view the Cranes when they return in the spring and share your magnificent photos with us 🙂

  19. David Baker January 26, 2016 1:22 pm

    I have started a petition with the Obama Administration to instruct the USFWS to continue ultra light guided migration until an alternative method with a proven higher level of success is developed.

    If we can reach 99,000 more signatures by Feb 25th, the administration promises to review the petition and provide a response. Please sign the petition and share either link by social media and email.

    • Warrenwesternpa January 27, 2016 6:06 am

      Thank-you, David Baker: I have signed!

      • Carol Berglund January 28, 2016 8:08 am

        Thank you

  20. Warrenwesternpa January 26, 2016 1:03 pm

    Thank you OM Doug (the tume) Pellerin

    Thank you Doug for your service! Your sentiments are felt amongst all of us in Whooper Country. Sadly our country is taking a new change that will destroy, but the bottom line for the FAA, NTSB, and now the USFWS and I’m sure there are others, will be money. They want more of ours. Our fearless leaders can do anything with Excecutive Orders and have proven they are beyond the laws.
    Google the name of the new 650 acre landfill in North Dakota for a hearty laugh. To me that says it all. Sorry I went on with all that blather. I have just worked too hard for too many years and watching it go up in smoke. The best of every thing to you!

    • Warrenwesternpa January 26, 2016 1:51 pm

      I just discovered the landfill thing was satire. Sorry folks.

      But Doug you’re pictures are always beautiful! The best of everything to you and Mako!

  21. desia Joseph January 26, 2016 12:33 pm

    What next? How can we help?

  22. Mary O’Brien January 26, 2016 12:22 pm

    You are a very special craniac Doug – your love for the Whoopers simply shines in your eyes and your smile. Thank you for taking such good care of these magnificent creatures, getting up in the middle of the night to meet people at the viewing blind, for teaching us your famous crane stance, and for the many smiles you shared as you held up your “Give a Whoop” signs and danced for the crane cam. You are one in a million.

  23. Mindy January 26, 2016 12:13 pm

    Great pics Doug, thank you for these and I loved your post. You did have a unique view of the colts and I am so glad you got to do that for 5 years. What a blessing. Thank you for your love and care of all the Whoopers and for helping them grow and take their places in the population. No one will ever forget your caring ways. We miss you a lot….Blessings for your future….You are a great Tume…..and you always will be.

  24. vannie zychowicz January 26, 2016 12:00 pm

    Think you so much for coming in to my life first in necedah then in white river Marsh I am so glad that my husband and I got to meat you all every time we go to see you and then with the whooper cranes hope you don’t have up your Dreams


  25. Lynn Driessen January 26, 2016 11:14 am

    My visits to the blind are some of the most awesome experiences of my life, in no small part because of Doug who represents OM so well. Thank you, Doug!

  26. Jane Maher January 26, 2016 11:05 am

    Thank you for your wonderful words and all you have contributed to OpMig, Doug!

  27. Karen Anne January 26, 2016 11:05 am

    Discontinuing the OM program is probably the worse decision anyone in the federal government has ever made, and that’s saying something.

  28. Carol Berglund January 26, 2016 10:57 am

    Thank you, Doug, so much for all you’ve done. You’ve shared so much with all of us with your photos, your time, your energy and your kind, caring ways. WHOOP to you too!

  29. thunder January 26, 2016 10:53 am

    Dear Doug – ((the tume))

    Thank you for doing all you did for OM. Breaks my heart here. I am kind of new but your enthusiasm for the cranes always comes across on the cam. Your huge smile, helping others to enjoy the cranes. I am so glad to of known you here even if I am just a chatter.
    I love when you held up signs Give a Whoop! Your dancing in the field trying to get other to join in, doing the crane dance. Some did..others woulds not..oh well you tired. ha Thank you for the fun times. Your pictures are awesome! When your face to face with them how do you not talk to them? So precious and adorable.
    You can take with you wonderful years working with OM. Thank you Doug for all that you did. And just saying..the cranes were lucky to of had YOU!!

    Whoop On~- Whoop On ~~~~~

  30. Karen Willes January 26, 2016 10:44 am

    Thank you, Doug & Mako, for your dedication, as well! You have made countless trips to White River Marsh in the wee hours of the morning to help with the cranes. Perhaps some day you can make the trip to Tallahassee to see OM’s 11-09, our beloved “Cow Pond Whooper” now flying wild and free having returned to the pond on his own for the 5th year! He is an amazing ambassador for crane conservation as we share his story daily!

    • CrabtowneMd January 26, 2016 3:30 pm

      wouldn’t it be something if 11-09 returned next year with a mate!!….and maybe a colt too.

  31. Brenda Cavanagh January 26, 2016 10:36 am

    We as chatters would like to thank you Doug from the bottom of our hearts for you dedication to Operation Migration. Early rising to be there to release the chicks, sharing your beautiful photos as our
    keepsakes and waving the sign for donations but most of all your
    dancing and waving to us will be ever engraved in our memories.
    Brenda Cavanagh (adnerb47)


  32. Terry Johnson January 26, 2016 10:05 am

    Einstein said, “Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men – above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.” This also applies to your valiant efforts on behalf of the Whooping Cranes. It is evident that you at Operation Migration are the epitome of this wise quote, your well-being and happiness depends on the survival of this magnificent bird. I pray that you may continue, in some capacity, to preserve and maintain their existence. You have certainly found your “divine purpose”.

  33. Reta January 26, 2016 10:01 am

    Amazing photos…. may your memories of sharing part of your life with these awesome birds stay with you forever. Thank you OM team for giving so much and loving every minute of it.


  34. Ann Manning January 26, 2016 10:00 am

    Is was always a treat to the viewers to spot Dougtune in his tune outfit. Your joy to be there was part of our added excitement as you stood on the runway with your signs,or dance moves. We all thank you for your time,support to OM and sharing your awesome pictures you capture of these magnificence cranes. I know you will continue your support behind the scenes. Happy Trails to you Dougtune.

  35. Lindi Allen January 26, 2016 9:51 am

    We appreciate all you do too for OM and the birds Doug, I will miss the training too. It has been so awesome to watch the birds grow up and learn the things they need to and to see the people who put so much of their time and effort into helping the Whooping Cranes build up to a sustaining population. I am thankful that the OM team has educated me on the birds and gave me more of a desire to study birds and to learn as much as I can about them, their behavior and how they live.