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May 27, 1998

5 cranes are captured at the Ayren links Golf course, they are getting disruptive. Richard & Heather transport them to Readers farm and pen them temporarily. The plan is that we will keep 2 or 3 penned and rotate them. We hope that by doing this, they will stay around Readers and stop seeking out people?

May 25, 1998

#209 is captured in Cleveland Ohio, after he landed in the middle of a sandlot baseball game. The decision is made to find him a new permanent home at the Cincinnati zoo. During the paperwork process he is placed with Jackie Ptacek who provides him with a wonderful home. Thanks Jackie!

May 25, 1998

5 cranes land at the Bowmanville High School where the students proceed to try feeding them cigarettes! (WHY?)

May 23/24, 1998

Several sightings of all 6 cranes through out the weekend in the Orono/Bowmanville area.

May 23, 1998

#203 spotted in Port Perry near lake Scugog! (woohoo!)

May 19, 1998

#201 & #202 land in Peterborough at Crescent St. across from Little Lake. Hugh Macmillan gets them airborne with help from his dog. #204 Spotted at Stephenson Rd. Newcastle by Jim Potter. After being chased away from Crescent St. #'s 201 & 202 land at the corner of Reid & McDonnell Streets in downtown Peterborough, in front of the Volkswagen dealership. Bill thinks they are just looking for some Beetles? #'s 206 & 207 spotted later in the day at Ayren links Golf course in Bowmanville (at least they are closer to *home*).

May 18, 1998

#203 & #204 spotted in a cornfield just west of Cobourg, Ontario.

May 17, 1998

#206 & #207 Land in Kingston, Ontario. Waaaay East of where they were on Friday! Joe Wensing and his children play the gracious hosts. Thanks!

May 14, 1998

Al Deehan calls from Exeter, Ontario, 35 miles due North of London. He has 6 Sandhill cranes in his yard near a small creek. He will ask people NOT TO FEED THEM! (Thank you)

May 13, 1998

One of the satellite hits show's the cranes on the south side of Lake Erie! 6:42 am Are they roosting there, then heading back to the Canadian side during the days?

May 12, 1998

Wildlife officer, Scott Butterworth calls from Ohio! #209 is now in the town of Findlay, 180 miles North of where he was last spotted. If you take a look at a map he is actually only about 200 km's away from his comrades. The only thing separating them is that little puddle called Lake Erie.

May 9, 1998

The cranes land in Rodney (again) at the home of Nicole Hobbs (whom is terrified of birds, especially BIG ones). They stay there as the neighbors are all feeding them. Why do people feel the need to feed these birds? They can forage for food quite well all on their own! Jack & Wolf to the rescue once again!

May 8, 1998

6 Sandhill cranes land in the town of Rodney, Ontario. (30 min. West of London). at the home of Jack & Sandy Haines. At our urging, Jack and his trusty dog Wolf get the birds airborne.

May 7, 1998

At approximately 10:30 a.m. 6 cranes landed in school yard in Dutton, Ont. 30 minutes west of London, Ont. Teacher Sue Jacobs calls in after finding 800 number on the leg bands.

May 6, 1998

5 cranes sighted at Burnt River Village in the area of Kinmont/Fenlon falls.

May 5, 1998

6 cranes sighted at Hawke Farm in Orono (1st stop on last years' migration).

April 30, 1998

1 UNCONFIRMED crane at Holland Landing.

April 29, 1998

6 cranes confirmed by Joe on Head Rd., Scugog Island. They're back as a group!

April 28, 1998

No Word!

April 27, 1998

2 cranes at Hawke Farm in Orono (1st stop on the '97 migration). 3 others witnessed in flight over Scugog Island.

April 26, 1998

4 cranes have returned from Fergus, Ont. Confirmed sighting by Bill at Apple Valley just north of Port Perry. He and Pepper chased them into the air and later confirmed that they are back at Reader's Field. 2 other cranes spent the day in Raglan, Ont. just south of Port Perry.

April 25, 1998

4 Cranes Fergus Ont. hanging out at the Country Club. Same day Richard picked up #202 from a school in Port Hope, Ontario and #204 from the local school in Port Perry.

April 22, 1998

No sign of the cranes, either by Joe or by radio tracking. Nelson confirms they were there the prior evening.....another tour maybe?

April 19, 1998

All 6 birds are at the feeder area of their fledge grounds. They went on a little excursion. That's all!

April 18, 1998

All six cranes spotted at the golf course in the town of Orono (approximately 15 miles east of fledge grounds) by a worker at the course. Flew west at approximately 6:00 pm.

April 17, 1998

The birds were still missing from the feeder area and we were not able to track them with the radio from Bill's house.

April 16, 1998

Nelson Reader called at 7:00 AM to report that our birds were making a lot of noise during the night. That morning there were not at the feeder but were tracked in the general area by the radio from the top of Bill's House on Purple Hill.

April 14, 1998

Finally!!! #209 spotted in Lawrence County, Ohio! He was reported to Chris Dwyer at Crane Creek in the Wayne National Forest.

Saturday, April 11, 1998

The Cranes have landed at their fledging grounds in Scugog, Ontario

Six Sandhill cranes, dubbed the "ULTRACRANES", descended from 3000 ft. into Nelson Reader's Farm this morning following two ultralights flown by Bill Lishman and Joe Duff.

This event marks the glorious conclusion to 15 days of uncertainty, which started on Saturday, March 28 when the flock was last seen in Virginia. Although two of the birds were satellite tracked and they all wore conventional radio transmitters, their propensity for people resulted in more accurate reports of their whereabouts.

In the calm and cold air of early Saturday morning Bill flew the MaxAir from his home in Purple Hill to Orangeville while Joe Duff and Aaron Lishman drove over in the truck and assembled the trike which had been trailered there the day before. By 9:30 a.m. this strange entourage was airborne and heading east to cover the 64 miles to home. Shortly after liftoff it became apparent that over the winter, our maturing birds had developed fuller wings and had the ability to fly even slower than normal. The result was that despite our best effort we could not fly slow enough for them to assume their customary position off the wing tip of the lead aircraft. They had also learned the art of soaring and we discovered that the air at 4000 ft. was a lot colder than on the surface. Several times they found the lift of a rising thermal and circled back to take advantage of the free ride and could not be convinced to continue on course until they topped it out. As the day progressed and the sun heated the earth below, they broke away more often to ride the rising air. The trip measured 64 miles but we estimate we flew 80 or more in 2 hours and 20 minutes of numbing cold.

Our experiment was designed to determineif these birds would return north unaided and if not, if we could lead them back. That plan was revised because we thought we had too few birds to test the two protocols, but as it turns out we accomplished both. Unfortunately, our birds seem to have an affinity for people, especially if they occupy a school yard. Wildness is something we will have to work on, but we have plans for that and there is always this year.

Additional Note: One of the ideas put forward to help promote wildness in our flock was to introduce wild or parent-reared birds at the nesting grounds. The day after our flock arrived home, they were joined by a wild Sandhill. This bird, rare for this area, has already encouraged them to use the large wetland adjacent to their pen area and may teach them that associating with people is not proper crane behaviour.

Thursday, April 9, 1998

Guelph, Ontario

Finally 3 remaining cranes (#201, 206, 207)are located in yet another school yard! Aberville School, 8 miles South of Guelph on County Rd. #8.

Drayton, Ontario

One crane (#204) landed outside a farmers barn. Then he followed 5 men into the barn. They are feeding him corn.

Parkinson School

Orangeville, Ontario

Two cranes (#202 & #203) landed at the Public School on the soccer field in the middle of a game. Contact Andy, 120 Lawrence Ave. Orangeville, Ontario L9W 1S8

* Note: Even though the wind continues to blow West, the birds have started to head back East!

Wednesday, April 8, 1998

Listowel, Ontario

Six cranes landed at a Eastdale Public school. Principal Clare Hood is the contact.

*Note: strong west wind continues

Sunday, April 5, 1998

Brookfield, Ontario

6 cranes landed at a golf course (near Cambridge). Stayed till late afternoon 4/07/98. Contact: Henry Schimtz

*Note: Strong west wind blowing

Saturday, April 4, 1998

Breslau, Ontario

6 cranes landed at a nursery (near Kitchener). Flighted 2pm Contact: Julia Tillik. Headed West?

Friday, April 3, 1998

Clarke Muirhead calls to say that he received a call from a Jim Stinson. Jim's wife gives Heather the name/number of the Quaint House. Heather calls the owner Ralph just as Joe is returning from leading the birds to an adjacent field. All 6 birds are reunited!!!

12:00pm Jim Anderson (Conservation Ontario) calls to say that the birds are at HWY #400 & #89. They apparently landed in the parking lot of the restaurant there. The Quaint House. 

#204 landed in Bond Head cemetery 11:15am. Lake Simcoe Wildlife officer called. Joe is on his way to capture and return #204 to the rest of the flock. (Which is a good thing because there is a funeral scheduled for 1pm.) 

#201, #202, #203, #206, #207 sighted in West Gwillembury 1 1/2 miles east of HWY #27 and on 9th conc. of W. Gwillembury. 

#204 sighted in Bondhead, Ont. arrived 10am

Thursday, April 2, 1998

Unconfirmed sighting of 6 birds Pefferlaw, ON. 

Tuesday, March 31, 1998 10:30

Highway 400 & Hwy #9 the same 6 cranes landed. #'s 201, 202, 203, 204, 206, 207 Same birds, Holland Marsh, ON. 30-35 miles due west of HOME! Flighted the same evening at 5:45pm

St. Catharine's, Ontario

Monday, March 30, 1998

Six Sandhill Cranes landed in the yard of Gracefield Public School at 9:00 am this morning, much to the surprise of 250 students. These are the Sandhill cranes led south by untralight aircraft last fall. Bill Lishman (Fathergoose) and Joe Duff, the co-founders of Operation Migration were elated at the news. The two first made international news when they led Canada geese on a pioneering migration experiment in 1993 and inspired the Columbia pictures film "Fly Away Home." For the past few years, Lishman and Duff have been conducting a series of migration experiments with the ultimate goal of establishing a second migratory flock of the highly endangered Whooping crane.

While the six birds are a hundred kilometers from completing the journey to their fledging grounds in Scugog township, Ontario, they have covered five hundred kilometers since they left their wintering grounds in Virginia just two days ago. During the southerly aircraft led migration last fall (which took twenty two days) the birds were flown eastward around Lake Ontario. These six birds have come north on their own. The question now, is can they find their way across or around Lake Ontario? Six other birds that were trucked south and also wintered in Virginia did not make the journey north.

Sunday, March 29, 1998 5:00 PM

Youngstown, NY

Sightings of Birds #201, 202, 203, 204, 206, 207 by Don Glynn

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