Southern Company helping whooping crane followers track flight progress as
Operation Migration's annual journey is under way
ATLANTA, Oct. 10, 2012
ATLANTA, Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Operation Migration's whooping cranes
are in the air again, and Southern Company is helping followers keep tabs on
the birds' flight from Wisconsin to Florida.
Southern Company, through its Power of Flight partnership with the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), is the presenting sponsor of Operation
Migration's daily EarlyBird e-bulletin newsletter, which provides progress
reports and other information each morning about the more than 1,200-mile
migration. To receive the free electronic newsletter, go to
operationmigration.org and click the EarlyBird registration link on the "In
the Field" page.
Southern Company's EarlyBird sponsorship is part of its continued support for
Operation Migration's work to conserve the endangered whooping crane. The
annual migration takes a group of young cranes on a journey with the goal of
helping the eastern flock reach a self-sustaining level of 125 birds,
including 25 breeding pairs. The birds are trained to follow an ultralight
aircraft south in the fall, a trip that prepares them to return on their own
the following spring.
This year's migration of six cranes began Sept. 28 and will conclude at St.
Marks National Wildlife Refuge, south of Tallahassee, Fla. The duration of the
migration is heavily influenced by the weather.
"Flying with birds isn't a job, it's a passion," said Joe Duff, Operation
Migration CEO, whooping crane project leader and senior pilot. "What we are
doing can save a species from extinction. We are grateful for the
contributions of individuals and corporate sponsors like Southern Company,
which enables our work on this unique project."
Power of Flight, one of three signature Southern Company-NFWF environmental
stewardship programs, has supported Operation Migration since 2008. A grant
extending the support to 2013 was recently announced.
"The whooping crane migration is one of the most popular and effective
environmental stewardship projects that we support. It gets meaningful results
while capturing the imagination of so many people who witness the flight along
the route or follow the birds online," said Chris Hobson, Southern Company
chief environmental officer. "Our association with Operation Migration
continues to be a highlight of our environmental stewardship program."
Since 2001, Operation Migration has played a lead role in the reintroduction
of endangered whooping cranes into eastern North America. During the 1940s,
only 15 birds existed in the world, although the species was not declared
endangered until 1971. Because of conservation efforts, nearly 500 whooping
cranes survive today in wild populations and in captive breeding centers.
"Thanks to the strong work of Southern Company's Power of Flight program and
other partners supported by NFWF, whooping cranes are beginning a comeback.
It's an amazing story," said Carl Kuehner III, chairman of the NFWF board of
directors. "You can't help but be inspired by the projects that NFWF makes
In addition to Power of Flight, which funds projects to conserve birds
characteristic of the southern United States, Southern Company also is
committed to restoring the South's longleaf pine ecosystem through the
Longleaf Stewardship Fund and to community watershed conservation through Five
Through these programs, Southern Company and a diverse group of partners have
achieved measurable results, helping to restore more than 922,000 acres of
longleaf pine and other critical habitat in the Southeast and introducing
hundreds of thousands of people to conservation messages and education.
With 4.4 million customers and more than 43,000 megawatts of generating
capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy
company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of electricity,
Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing
competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless
communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer
service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the
national average. Southern Company also is continually ranked among the top
utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility
rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.
SOURCE Southern Company
Contact: Southern Company Media Relations, +1-404-506-5333, +1-866-506-5333
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