Monday, 26 October 2009
Operation Migration - The Dreaded Weather
Everything was going so well. There was an extended period of perfect flying conditions and everything seemed to be running smoothly. Once the three groups of birds have learned to fly they are then brought together to make one flock. Once together they must organise themselves into a hierarchy before they can carry on. This entails a lot of pecking and bullying but finally each bird finds its place and the flock is ready. However this year, the heavens opened during the mixing of the last cohort. They need a lot of good weather and flight practicing before there is unity in the air and this year they have not flown for what seems like weeks due to rain and heavy winds.
The bad weather has forced the team to look at a variety of difficult decisions. The birds are fast becoming sedentary and reluctant to leave the pen. When they go out to practice the winds are so strong that the aircraft cannot slow down to wait for the bird and often birds turn back for the pen. They just want the comfort of the wet pen with lots of food. The team now have to work out whether they should carry on this negative training in bad weather or risk crating them to the first stop over. Crating can be dangerous for the birds and will also make them wary of the men dressed in white who pack them into the crates. After avidly watching the forecast and seeing no break in this terrible weather they decided to box eight of the birds and send them to the refuge.
The next question is whether to box the birds that they think will turn back and therefore disrupt the flock and box them to stopover two? This will at least ensure that the ones who are likely to make it will have the best chances and they can start to rebuild the flock. However, as mentioned crating is dangerous and is it worth doing damage to the birds who are already reluctant to follow the aircraft?
It is such a disappointing start to a very long and challenging journey. However, the bad weather can't last forever and WE are rooting for their success. Keep watching www.wildearth.tv for their broadcasts. They are few and far between at the moment which is why they do not show up on the portal. However, the camera is on the trike and when they are in the air the shots are fantastic.