Airdate: Nov 08, 2019
Scientist: Chip and Joy Campbell
Okefenokee - Sandhill Migration
Each year flocks of migrating Sandhill Cranes descend on Georgia's Okefenokee refuge and join their southern cousins.
Science Diary: Okefenokee - Sandhill Migration Music; Ambience: sandhill cranesCC: "The migratory birds come in right around Thanksgiving, and they leave right around Valentine's. It's easy to keep up with when they show up and when they go home because it's right there around those holidays."JM: Georgia's Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is home to a resident population of Florida Sandhill cranes. But each winter, northern flocks of migratory Sandhill cranes descend into the area to join their cousins. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. Chip Campbell is a naturalist at Okefenokee, and he's noticed a variation in the birds' scheduling.CC: "They're actually leaving about a week earlier now than they used to leave. This is one of those many observations that's been made in changes of migratory patterns, shifting of ranges that we're seeing as the climate warms a bit. The migratory birds will return to Wisconsin and Southern Minnesota. They're part of the Lake Superior population."JM: The cranes, with their seven-foot wingspans, take a break on their journey north, stopping at a place that's been made famous by their annual visit. CC: "A lot of the cranes will funnel up through the Platte River Valley on the way home. There's a major funneling of the birds up through that section of Nebraska. That's how the birds get their name the Sandhills of Nebraska. And it's something to see dozens of them. I imagine it's really something to see thousands upon thousands of them at a time. That's one of the great wildlife spectacles in North America." Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.