Whooping Crane #26-17 is Progressing South

Female Whooping crane #26-17 seems to be the first parent-reared bird to start the migration this fall. Based on her last known accomplices and the route she is taking south, we think she is following Peanut (4-14) and his friend, 11-15.

Monday, they left Grand River Marsh in Marquette County, Wisconsin and flew about 170 miles to LaSalle County, Illinois. By yesterday they made over 200 miles and are just north of where Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky meet.

But the last GSM data we got was from 2 pm and it reported her at an altitude of 974 meters, doing 33 knots airspeed on a heading of 174 degrees. They still had three hours to go before the thermals stopped working so who knows where they will end up.

This is a good indication of how much better birds are at migration than we were. Imagine us covering all of Illinois in only two days. Sometimes it took us two months.

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16 Comments

  1. Cheryl Murphy November 12, 2017 9:14 pm

    Be safe! Fair winds.

  2. Christine November 10, 2017 8:08 am

    Thank you so much for the update! Wishing these beautiful birds a safe and easy journey. <3

  3. Rolando November 9, 2017 9:00 pm

    Thank you Praying for a Safe Trip South

  4. Marsha Walsh November 9, 2017 7:46 pm

    Wow, Thanks for the update. This is terrific !

  5. Cheryl N. November 9, 2017 1:50 pm

    Thanks so much for the update. Best wishes for a safe journey south.

  6. Aletta Houser Hargis November 9, 2017 12:51 pm

    Ive been very fortunate to witness their glight in Western Ky

  7. Mindy November 9, 2017 11:23 am

    Love it, love it!! Hooray for OM’s teaching with the ultralite to both 4-14 and 11-15…now 26-17 will know the route to the blue crabs….Just wait until she tastes those!
    Thanks for the update Joe….

  8. Grandma November 9, 2017 10:47 am

    Thank you for the update Joe. I find migration amazing, no maps, no GPS. Again, thank you and all at OM for all of the dedication you have shown over the years!

  9. Linda Miller November 9, 2017 10:24 am

    How far south will the cranes migrate ?
    Will they be monitored , on their journey ? Thanks for sharing . Is Audubon in Henderson , ky a marked field ? Good luck in these exciting adventures ?

  10. Mollie Cook November 9, 2017 10:18 am

    Wonderful report Joe………thank you! Hope to hear of their arrival at St Mark’s.

  11. CraniacP November 9, 2017 10:12 am

    Ah Joe, but look what those two older birds learned during all that time following you in Illinois! They’re sticking to the OM route like glue.
    Love following their updates. Thanks to all at OM.

  12. Jean P. aka CrabtowneMd November 9, 2017 9:45 am

    WOW ! that is some awesome flying/soaring. Love getting these updates.

  13. Ginger G. November 9, 2017 8:56 am

    #26-17 is going to be here sooner than you’d think. I can’t wait!

  14. Barb November 9, 2017 7:58 am

    Joe, Do the Cranes fly just during the daylight hours? Or do they just fly as long as their strength and weather conditions allow? They really are amazing, as are all migrating birds. Thanks for the update.

    • Heather Ray November 9, 2017 8:34 am

      Cranes (and other soaring birds) take advantage of thermals created when the sun heats the earth’s surface. Flying in this manner, they can effectively and efficiently cover long distances simply by gliding from one thermal to another.

  15. Sue McCurdy November 9, 2017 7:53 am

    They are so smart. Thanks for the report Joe.