Public viewing opportunity for ninth class of whooping cranes near Pecatonica
From press release
After a slow start, Operation Migration’s 2009 class of whooping crane chicks had made it to the second stop in a 1,200-mile journey from Necedah, Wis., to Florida.
Operation Migration pilots in ultra-light aircraft will lead the 20 juvenile cranes’ travel through Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia to reach the birds’ wintering habitats at Chassahowitzka and St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuges along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
To date, the pilots and birds have covered 9,777.2 miles. This fall, somewhere over Illinois, Operation Migration will fly its 10,000th mile in the effort to bring cranes back to eastern North America. To mark the achievement, the organization has launched its Give a Whoop! campaign. All who contribute $10 to Give a Whoop! will receive OM’s e-mail newsletter each morning during the migration, and be entered in a drawing to win great prizes,
A public flyover and photo opportunity will be near the Winnebago County stopover location. The designated public viewing location is the shelterhouse and parking lot at Pecatonica River Forest Preserve, 7260 Judd Road in Pecatonica. This is the entrance to the campground and education center. Park in the forest preserve parking lot. Viewers have permission to gather on the private lawn immediately across from the preserve on Judd Road.
The date of Operation Migration’s arrival in Winnebago County is unknown at this time, but is targeted for the first week of November. Anticipated arrival time is approximately 7:30 a.m., but is highly variable. One way to know when the planes and cranes are approaching Winnebago County is to view the morning departure on live crane-cam video coverage at www.operationmigration.org. The best way to be notified of the Operation Migration team’s status is to follow OM’s Twitter updates. For those who are not already Twitter users, it’s quite easy. Create a log in/password and enable mobile updates (in settings). OM’s official Twitter address is: www.twitter.com/OperMigration. Once at the OM page, sign up to “Follow” us; and if they have enabled mobile “tweets” every time the OM staff issues tweet news, it arrives at subscribers’ cell phones. Once staff knows for certain we’re flying that day, they’ll tweet about it and give an ETA for the arrival at Pecatonica River Forest Preserve.
The event may begin around 7:30/8 a.m. with an opportunity to see the flyover and hear speakers from the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. ICF will have an informational booth and crane-related merchandise for sale. The flyover is completely dependent on the weather and birds, and as such, the flyover may be postponed. Weather permitting, however, the cranes and planes will attempt to pass over the airport. The pilots and ground crew will return to the air field once they have safely delivered the birds.
From the November 4-10, 2009 issue
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