Thursday, October 18, 2007

Operation Migration

Seems we're seeing less migrating birds now. Thoughts of winter are coming to mind. Not my favorite time of year. Migration is an awesome thing.

Bill Lishman became the first human to fly with birds, using an ultralight aircraft to lead a small flock of Canada geese from Ontario, Canada to Virginia, USA. The unassisted return migration of these geese the following spring garnered world-wide attention that led to the making of the hit movie "Fly Away Home" with Columbia Pictures. This led to the formation of Operation Migration.

To perfect techniques, and ensure that once released, birds conditioned to follow the ultralights would remain wild, several migration studies were conducted with non-endangered cranes. Like many birds, Whooping Cranes learn their migration route by following their parents. But this knowledge is lost when the species is reduced and there are no longer any wild birds using the flyway.

Operation Migration was asked by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to spearhead a reintroduction of the world's most endangered cranes. In the first five years of the program, approximately 60 birds have been taught a migration route between Wisconsin and Florida. This is 4 times the number that existed in the early 1940's.

Read more about their story.

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