SURPRISE, AZ – Every year at this time a fascinating phenomena occurs and this year scientists from the National Old Person Research Center are poised to get a closer look then they ever have before. As the northern parts of the U.S. cool down, old Americans migrate south in an effort to escape the cold. This migration is commonly referred to as flight of the snowbirds.
While the migration has occurred annually for the last 50 years, Scientists have not been able to follow a flock of old people any further south than Denver, Colorado.
“It’s been frustrating in the past, that’s for sure,” said NOPRC lead researcher Doug Vendle. “Last year we thought we were gonna make it all the way with these two old people from Duluth but when we got to Salt Lake City they just vanished on us. We eventually found them in Tucson but we still have no idea how they got there. The year before that we were following a different couple but the male drove the couple’s Winnebago into a ditch 20 miles outside of their home nest. We keep hoping they’d free themselves from the ditch but they didn’t. As observers, the last thing we can do is jump in there and help. It was a sad thing to watch them go like that but… I guess it’s just part of nature.”
This year, the NOPRC has new tools and equipment at their disposal. One of the new advantages that the researchers have is a tagging device that will transmit a radio signal back to a receiver within 100 miles.
“The technology has always been there for tagging but this is the first year the American Association of Retired Peoples has allowed the use of the equipment,” said Vendle. “Basically what we have to do is dart a subject, usually as they stand out on their porch and yell at teenagers. Sometimes they get startled and try to run, but they’re old, so they don’t get very far. When they are fully knocked out, we affix a tag to their ear and BAM – instant geezer tracker. The best thing about this new system is that the tag can’t be removed once it’s attached to the old people so we should be able to get some real quality data. Well, that’s not true, it can be removed. But only by cutting off the ear, which has happened in the initial testing of the device. Actually the old guy didn’t cut of his ear so much as the tag was a little too heavy and completely ripped the ear off. Boy that was a messy one.”
The AARP, an old person preservation group, has in the past tried to restrict the data collection techniques of scientist to protect the fragile old people. This year however the AARP has made some concessions in hopes that the group will benefit from the information.
“I don’t like ice cream when it’s warm,” said AARP Secretary Jannie Wenkle. “My grandson is the smartest boy ever he like it when you scratch his head behind his ears. Back then though condoms didn’t exist so we had to use rabbit pelts. Those were the days. Is it time for Dr. Phil yet? Back in my day soda was called Rum Junga.”
While very little information has been collected on the actual migration, scientists have been able to record the normal pattern of movement once in the south.
“It is so strange,” Vendle said. “The pattern always starts from the nest, or mobile home park, and progresses to the local mall. What’s strange is that the pattern begins at 5 in the morning which is long before any mall actually opens. From the mall the trail leads to the Red Lobster or Furr’s Buffet, then to the local pornographic video store. But we think this last stop is just for the males and we believe the females, who generally have poor vision, are led to believe the porn shop is a pharmacy. It’s a really strange pattern.”
The data collected will be used to help preserve the old person environment and make sure humans are educated on the dangers of migrating old people. Every year old people kill 200 million Americans in the wild.
“It’s all about saving lives – on both sides. If we can help do that then all this trouble will be worth it,” said Vendle.