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Flying with Birds - Interview with Gavin Shire

Teaching Whooping Cranes How to Migrate
© Gavin Shire View Large

Gavin Shire, Communications Director for American Bird Conservancy, became an ultralight pilot while working with Operation Migration. The project is teaching endangered Whooping Cranes, raised in captivity, the route to migrate between Wisconsin and Florida. The birds are trained to follow ultralight planes. Before taking on Whooping Cranes, the project practiced with Canada Geese, then Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Cranes. Gavin flew an ultralight during the goose and swan phases. 

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Flying With Birds - Interview with Gavin Shire

Written by Chris Peterson

This is BirdNote!

[Sound of ultralight + Trumpeter Swans calling]
 Imagine yourself flying alongside a magnificent bird with a nine-foot wingspan. Gavin Shire, Communications Director for American Bird Conservancy, has done just that.
Gavin became an ultralight pilot while working with Operation Migration. The project is teaching endangered Whooping Cranes, raised in captivity, the route to migrate between Wisconsin and Florida. The birds are trained to follow ultralight planes. Before taking on Whooping Cranes, the project practiced with Canada Geese, then Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Cranes. Gavin flew an ultralight during the goose and swan phases.

T48 2:03… for somebody who is afraid of flying and always has been, this was somewhat of an unexpected turn in my life… but I found that when I was flying an ultralight… I wasn’t afraid at all…
[Sound of ultralight]
T48 4:17 …It was an incredible amount of work and effort…day in day out... It was draining and frustrating when the birds wouldn’t fly with you and when the weather wouldn’t cooperate, but that just made the rewards of when it finally went right …and you were up there at a thousand feet… flying perfectly in sync with these wild animals, it made it all the more rewarding…it was an incredible experience.

[Sound of Trumpeter Swans]
T48 2:32+...But it was really something that I had never imagined that conservation could take me…and…having worked with birds…all my life, to actually be there flying with them!

[Calls of Trumpeter Swans]

 You can find a link to Operation Migration at birdnote.org
###
Sounds of Trumpeter Swans provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Calls and wingbeats recorded by J.M. Hartshorne.  Calls of Whooping Cranes recorded by J. Huxmann
Ultralight aircraft audio provided by Operation Migration www.operationsmigration.org; recorded by Jeffrey Huxmann.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org     August 2011   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# shireg-ultralight-01-2011-08-09   

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