15 September 2023
For nearly 30 years ultralights have been used to establish safe migration routes for endangered geese and cranes as they are reintroduced to the wild.
In 1993 ultralight pioneer Bill Lishman, along with Joe Duff, conducted the first ever human-led bird migration by guiding a small flock of young Canada geese from Ontario to Virginia. His experiment proved that young geese imprinted on an ultralight will follow the aircraft and learn the migration route. After leading the birds just once, in one direction, the geese knew the route and returned on their own in the spring.
Christian “Birdman” Moullec was the first to do it in Europe when he guided lesser white-fronted geese (Anser erythropus) from their future breeding grounds in Sweden to new wintering grounds in Germany in 1999. He has since led red-breasted geese (Branta ruficollis) and many other species.
Nowadays, to raise money for his conservation efforts, Christian Moullec offers tourists ultralight flights with the birds.
Learn what it’s like to take one of his flights in: A Man, a Tiny Aircraft, and a Flock of Geese: Flying Among Birds in France. See the magic in this video from National Geographic.
Visit Moullec’s website at Fly With Birds.