Home Page

Clipper Facts

Ever since Midway Islands became a base for Pan American Flying Clipper Ships that spanned the Pacific Ocean to China, company personnel have been trying to help solve the mystery of the strange over-ocean migration of the "Goonies."

These creatures, strange and interesting birds of the Albatross type, migrate each summer en masse, departing on approximately the same day every year, almost at the same hour, to Alaska where they summer along the chain of the Aleutian Islands along the cool Bering sea.

Every fall, in October, they return to Midway. The personnel even have betting pools to determine the date the Goonies will reappear. In the years that Pan American personnel have lived on the lonely largely uninhabited island, a few birds have always preceded the main flock by 24 hours on departure.

Upon their arrival in the fall from Alaska, a score of Goonies also arrive 24 hours ahead of the main community. These advance guards drop onto the island completely exhausted. The next day the entire community arrives (thousands of birds) similarly exhausted, and for another 48 hours the scarcely move, lying about like so many corpses. At the end of the second day, however, they seem to have recovered their vitality and are perfectly normal from then on.

Before World War II, preparations were being made by Pan American Airways to tag a number of the older veterans of the flock before they were ready to leave for their summer playground. goonie3.jpg - 11489 BytesThe inhabitants strung along the little Aleutian Island chain were being enlisted by Pacific Alaska Airways to keep on the lookout for the tagged leaders — and to clock their actual time on the islands. This, compared with the official departure time taken at Midway, would hopefully provide an important clue or two to the mystery of their migration — a clue which may add importantly to the bird's already considerable contribution to the man-made miracle of modern transport flying.

Clipper Facts       Next Clipper Fact

  The Flying Clippers Main Page
  TransOceanic Travel & Pan Am's Clippers
  Pan American Clippers 1931 – 1946
  Clippers In Time: Their Historical Context
  FlyingClippers.com Site Map
  Contact Us

Copyright © 1999-2002 Flying Clippers All Rights Reserved
All materials contained in http://www.flyingclippers.com are protected by copyright and trademark laws and may not be used for any purpose whatsoever other than private, non-commercial viewing purposes. Derivative works and other unauthorized copying or use of stills, video footage, text or graphics is expressly prohibited.