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Operation Migration USA Inc

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First-Ever Ultralight-Aircraft Webcam Will Provide a Window Seat During Aircraft-Guided Whooping Crane Migration

Operation Migration Inc. (OM) and (WE) are thrilled to announce the launch of a “TrikeCam” -- the first-ever webcam mounted on an ultralight-aircraft. The TrikeCam will provide online viewers with never before seen live views of Whooping Cranes in flight as they follow OM’s ultralights from their summer home in Central Wisconsin to their winter habitat on Florida’s Gulf coast.

Necedah, WI, October 15, 2009 --( Operation Migration’s CraneCam, sponsored by Duke Energy began streaming live online video around the world on July 29, 2009, and thousands have tuned in to watch as the young cranes trained with the ultralight aircraft at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.

The migration team consisting of 16 people and 21 young-of-year Whooping cranes will soon begin making their way south from Wisconsin and in addition to the on-the-ground CraneCam, viewers will now also be able to watch the trike-cam as the cranes follow the ultralight-aircraft in the air.

Viewers can watch Live online as Operation Migration’s pilots and crane handlers care for the juvenile Whooping cranes that comprise the ‘Class of 2009’ during the southward journey. To tune in, visit and click the link to access the new TrikeCam.

The video feed will be dependent on connectivity at their remote stopover locations, “Craniacs” and online viewers will be able to watch each morning’s departure as the cranes and planes make their way south – a journey of over 1,200 miles. Because progress is entirely weather dependent, the journey from Wisconsin to Florida can take between 60 to 90 days to complete.

The CraneCam will also deliver views of the Class of 2009 in their travel pen at the conclusion of each migration flight leg. On completion of the migration, the CraneCam will be set up at Florida’s St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge to provide an unprecedented opportunity to watch the young Whooping cranes as they mature over the winter. The CraneCam will offer online viewers a ringside seat to witness their “soft release” into the wild.

Each year since 2001 Operation Migration’s (OM) pilots have led a cohort of captive-hatched and costume-raised Whooping cranes imprinted to follow its ultralight aircraft, their surrogate parent, along a predetermined migration route between central Wisconsin and the Gulf coast of Florida.

While leading its ninth generation, the Class of 2009, on this fall’s migration south, Operation Migration will log its 10,000th air-mile with young Whooping cranes following its aircraft in an effort to learn a migration route. The landmark 10,000th air-mile - the equivalent of flying almost halfway around the world! - will be flown somewhere over Illinois.

People worldwide are asked to “Give a WHOOP! with a goal of collecting an Honor Roll of 10,000 WHOOPS! - one for each of the 10,000 migration miles Operation Migration has flown with endangered Whooping cranes following its ultralights. To “WHOOP” please visit:

WildEarth.TV (WE) is a network of Live wildlife broadcasts from the plains of Africa to a bald eagle nest on Catalina Island, California. You can watch the salmon run in British Columbia or escape on a Live safari, with an expert ranger, in South Africa, in search of lions and elephants. More and more wildlife broadcasters, research organizations, conservation groups and aspirant filmmakers are joining the WE network to get their Live wildlife broadcasts out to a growing audience of enthusiastic viewers. By streaming their content over the WE network these broadcasters are able to focus on following great wildlife spectacles rather than worrying about the costs and technicalities of delivering Live video to a global audience. (

Background Notes
Reduced to a mere 15 birds in the early 1940’s, the world’s population of Whooping cranes has gradually made a comeback, thanks in part to a unique project designed to reintroduce a second migratory population into eastern North America.

Because Whooping crane young learn a migration route from their parents and no parent generation existed in the eastern flyway, the juvenile cranes must learn the way south by following Operation Migration’s ultralights.

Hailed as “The wildlife equivalent of putting a man on the moon” the reintroduction being carried out under the auspices of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, a collaboration of nine non-profit and government agencies, is literally safeguarding the species.

The goal is to reintroduce 125 cranes, including 25 breeding pairs, at which point researchers believe the population would be self-sustaining. Known as the Eastern Migratory Population, these reintroduced birds currently number 77.

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Operation Migration Inc.
Heather Ray

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