On Friday morning, I watched spellbound as two tiny “ultralight” planes flew low over the refuge, leading their young whooping cranes on a practice flight. Actually, I was watching through field binoculars, and nearly forgot to grab my camera. Note: these cranes are raised by handlers dressed in crane costumes. The pilots, too, are dressed to appear as cranes. Migration to Florida will start soon…..
Operation Migration folks are busy working out the kinks before the pilot-led migration begins. For example: this crane (nicknamed “Spooky”) has not quite learned to stay in formation with the rest of his cohorts….
Originally scheduled for October 1, then the 5th, the Operation Migration might leave on Thursday October 7th at this point. Stay tuned! I certainly hope to watch their departure!