Four out of the five birds flew the entire distance. The only time during this migration did a bird drop out and need to be crated and driven to the next stop. It happened when #6 landed in a corn field and wouldnt take off again. (The team has found that usually only about one-fourth of the birds complete the entire migration under their own steam. The rest drop out one or more times and must be collected and crated to the next stop.)
On average it takes 23 fly days to reach Florida, but in some years it takes longer to get those 23 days of flyable weather. The 12 ultralight-led migrations have ranged from 43 days to 97 days.
The awesome Class of 2012 completed the migration in 17 fly days—skipping over one stop on four days and skipping over TWO stops on one day.
On a day when winds picked up after the takeoff, Crane #10-12 broke her leg and died on the operating table. This wonderful cohort lost a great bird.
*Cranes #4, 5, and 7-12 began their first solo spring migration from Florida on March 10. Crane #11 left on Feb. 8-9 and never returned. She was not heard from after that.
**A Bobcat killed Crane #6 in the early morning of February 3, 2013, so she didn't survive to make her first northward migration.