Prior to departure – ALWAYS count your crates!

We are taking 20 GOWE and 12 MAFD back to AZA zoos in the US mainland.  Their journey is long and we will be there to help them and monitor them the entire way.

We finally are able to book a flight for the birds and us to get to Guam.  We work with Star Marianas Airlines and they help us charter a small twin engine plane for us.  It seats up to 10 people – or 8 crates of birds and 3 people (plus the pilot and co-pilot).

Our plane awaits - with the crates being loading in.
Our plane awaits – with the crates being loading in.
Roomy interior with all window seats!
Roomy interior with all window seats!

So far there seems to be one flaw in the plan for departure:

Tapah might just interfere.
Tapah might interfere.

 

 

We wake up on departure day and it is a rainy cloudy mess.  It seems none of us bothered to check the weather.  Her name is Tapah and she is a Tropical Storm that is headed our way.  We go ahead and plan for departure.  Luckily the storm is far enough away and Guam is close enough that we can go ahead and leave.

Our stormy departure!
Our stormy departure!

We fly to Guam in about 1 hour.  The flight was not bad, but we did have to brace the crates well so that they would not move during flight.  Luckily my feet (clad in lovely purple flip flops) did the job and held the crates firmly in place.  The birds even started to sing mid-flight.

At least my pedicure held up!
At least my pedicure held up!

When we land in Guam, before we can even stick our heads out of the airplane, we have to wait for the Customs and USDA officials.  The plane and all of its cargo (including us) have to be checked for Brown Tree snakes.  Luckily, they know we have the birds with us – so it is not a very long wait.

Waiting for inspection
Waiting for inspection

The Customs agent speeds us through the hidden underbelly of the airport (where I am not sure I was supposed to take pictures?) and approves our and more importantly the birds’ entry into Guam.

Customs Officer helping us move the birds
Customs Officer helping us move the birds
Can I take Pictures here?
Can I take Pictures here?

 

The dark underbelly of the airport (or the elevator to customs)
The dark underbelly of the airport (or the elevator to customs)

 

 

We are met by the employees of the Guam Rail lab – they will allow us to keep the birds there overnight. The Rail Lab is where the good folks of Guam work with the endangered Guam Rail  as well as the Micronesian Kingfisher.  They have a great set-up that works well for our bird’s overnight stay.

We feed the birds an early evening snack and then leave them to rest while we get an early evening dinner and to our hotel room for the night.

The birds have to be back at the airport for their flight at 3 AM.  This means we have to feed them around 2 AM.

It is 2 AM - I am sleepy and so are the MAFD.
It is 2 AM – I am sleepy and so are the MAFD.

Burly eyed- we arrive at the Rail lab and feed the doves and GOWE.  We get everyone packed up in the car and leave the keys to the building in the kitchen.  Walking out to the car it appears we have plenty of time to get the birds safely to the airport.  Peter is dropping the birds off, so it allows Ellen and I to go to our hotel and clean up before our 24 + hours of travel that we have in front of us.

But – it is not that straight-forward.  As we are getting all of our luggage together, we get a phone call from Peter.  There are 7 crates of birds at the airport….. BUT we have EIGHT! Crates….

In the packing of the car, we all forgot the first rule of shipping birds – count your crates before you lock the door.  As Ellen and I nervously wait at the hotel for Peter, we contemplate whether or not we can break into the Rail Lab – and what kind of punishment we would be willing to put up with to save our birds.  Luckily, Peter was able to contact a Rail Lab employee that was able to come unlock the building and thus preventing our journey into crime for the sake of our birds….

the forgotten crate - hiding in plane sight!
the forgotten crate – hiding in plain sight!

We got all the birds to the flight in time.  And they did great during the transportation – however, it took me a few hours to finally stop nervously shaking with worry about forgetting the crate.

Now I just have the 2 – 8 hour flights until I am back in Houston.



Want more?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Status Update

Need even more of our adorable baby giraffe in your life? Don't worry, we've got you covered! ... See MoreSee Less

4 hours ago

Tonya Hanson, Kathleen Dikibo and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Lucia LermaClarisa Reyes look there's a baby giraffe at the zoo!!!

3 hours ago   ·  2
Avatar

Myke HunterWow a baby giraffe is almostaas big as me when born

2 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Ingrid MendozaMy 7 years old niece brought a baby giraffe like 2 years ago at the Houston Zoo and she named it GiGi just like the new baby giraffe!! We have to go meet the real GiGi she said!!

1 hour ago
Avatar

Eileen PetreI want to work at the Houston Zoo!

3 hours ago
Avatar

Alicia DodsonThey all love the baby

4 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Katie WillShe is soooo cute!!!! Can't wait to come see her!!!

4 hours ago
Avatar

Danielle Abshire DeesOMG!! You know I love giraffes....

4 hours ago

2 Replies

Avatar

Linda FleischmanCan't wait to see her!!

46 minutes ago
Avatar

Amy McDowellShe is so very wee! I love her!

3 hours ago
Avatar

Chip Byas-OrtegaJoin the Zoo today! LOVe being a member for animals like GiGi!

3 hours ago
Avatar

Emma PenningtonCongrats Houston Zoo!

3 hours ago
Avatar

Sarah Hay TravisI'm in love! Congrats to the herd & the zoo! ❤️

4 hours ago
Avatar

Denise Mahaffey PernellWhat a doll baby! And she was such a big girl when everyone came over to check her out and say 'Hi!'

1 hour ago
Avatar

Renee Bentley BralyOmgee!!!!!! Can't stand the cuteness!!! Lauren Braly Emily Braly we have to ho see her!!

3 hours ago
Avatar

Rubi FabianSuch a cutieee !!! ☺️☺️ my love for giraffes !! 💘

4 hours ago
Avatar

Emilee MayberrySo cute!! :) Giraffes always looking like they're running in slow motion! :)

3 hours ago
Avatar

Rosa WadsworthSo cute! Ya'll make sure all the dangers are taken care of! We don't want our little one to slip and hurt herself!

4 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Debby Scarborough WendtI can't wait to see Gigi!!!

4 hours ago
Avatar

Yanique LeshaeI want one

4 hours ago
Avatar

Angey Saucier MurrayThat ostrich is having nothing to do with her.

2 hours ago
Avatar

Lisa ArgelSooooo cute!

2 hours ago
Avatar

Erin Elena Mendoza-ChapmanShe's so widdle, barely taller than me...at birth.

4 hours ago
Avatar

Darleen Cabler WoodyADORABLE... <3

2 hours ago
Avatar

Bonnibelle Benavidez MendezHow sweet!!

3 hours ago
Avatar

Lori Feldman KaminsShe is so darling!!

3 hours ago
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Houston Zoo added 6 new photos to the album: Baby Giraffe Makes Her Debut.

Our beautiful baby giraffe has been named Gigi and enjoyed meeting the rest of the herd this morning. If you can't make it out to see Gigi, tune into our webcams to watch the giraffes live!
... See MoreSee Less

9 hours ago

Our beautiful baby giraffe has been named Gigi and enjoyed meeting the rest of the herd this morning. If you can't make it out to see Gigi, tune into our webcams to watch the giraffes live!

Christy Hansen, Denise Davis Gayle and 23 others like this

View previous comments

David JacksonThis should be sold as a poster

8 hours ago   ·  43
Avatar

Susan Labossiere DraperPerfect shot! Kudos to the photographer.

7 hours ago   ·  14
Avatar

Kristina RuhlThis photo needs to be framed and sold at the zoo! So sweet!

8 hours ago   ·  6
Avatar

Erica J. UnderferthOh my gosh the way they are loving on her. So sweet

8 hours ago   ·  5
Avatar

Debby Scarborough Wendtcircle of love

6 hours ago   ·  5
Avatar

Josette Lioness GlazeThis is too sweet!!! OMG!!!! Staci!!!

5 hours ago   ·  3

2 Replies

Avatar

Andrea Foreman PendergraffThis photo is phenomenally sweet!

8 hours ago   ·  3
Avatar

Marla Huseman GraceAbsolutely precious!

9 hours ago   ·  2
Avatar

Jeanette RodarteI'm in love with this picture!!! 😍😍 Beautiful!

8 hours ago   ·  2

1 Reply

Avatar

Angey Saucier MurrayThis seriously is one of the cutest things EVER.

4 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Becky BrocatoThis is just so precious!

1 hour ago   ·  1
Avatar

Charity Denee EinkaufJames last weekend in September?

8 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Tanya B Drewthis is precious!!!!

5 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Karen Holloway MorrowOh my! This is so beautiful!

59 minutes ago   ·  1
Avatar

Karli Nations SiscoeI needed this today! Thanks Houston Zoo. Always a family favorite

7 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Renee MyersOH MY GOSH!

6 hours ago
Avatar

Summer MolinaOH MY GOODNESS THIS PICTURE IS SO PRECIOUS!!! THANKS FOR SHARING!

8 hours ago
Avatar

Jayson MelansonI love her!!!

9 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Theresa ButkowskiOh my gosh! How precious this is! Such a wonderful, close family.

8 hours ago
Avatar

Lynn Allen PaulsenOh!!! This is the sweetest pic ever!

9 hours ago
Avatar

Summer DavisWhat a sweet photo.

9 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

KR KadlubarThis is precious.

6 hours ago
Avatar

Amy Villareal SmithThis has to be the sweetest picture ever!

9 hours ago
Avatar

Hilary Grizzaffi MorganPERFECT PICTURE!!!!!!

6 hours ago
Avatar

Chelsea Fine WatkinsonThat's A LOT of love!

5 hours ago
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Animals In Action

Recent Videos