Like most birds, Jayhawks usually find a permanent place to roost. However, every year several hundred Jayhawks travel in flocks to destinations as distant and diverse as China, the Danube River, Costa Rica and San Francisco.
The trips are made possible through the Kansas University Alumni Association's Flying Jayhawks program, which arranges special travel packages for KU alumni.
Donna Neuner, director of membership services for the alumni association, said 20-50 KU alumni go on each of the 15-20 trips organized each year through the program.
Neuner said the trips are just one way "to keep those ties between the University of Kansas and the alumni strong."
She said the trips also serve to forge new bonds among the alumni themselves.
"The camaraderie among the group is really strong," Neuner said. "A lot of lasting friendships are made on these trips."
NEUNER SAID the trips usually are coordinated by travel agencies that arrange packages especially for alumni groups. For that reason, alumni from other universities often accompany the Jayhawks on their trips.
Florence Gray, who has made about 20 Flying Jayhawks trips with her husband, KU alumnus Stewart Gray, said that doesn't ruffle her feathers in the least bit.
"The Jayhawks stick together, but they still mingle with the other colleges," said Mrs. Gray, who resides with her husband in Kansas City, Mo. "What makes the trips special is the people that you travel with, whether they're Jayhawks or people from other colleges."
Lawrence resident Hovey Hanna, a member of KU's Class of 1938, agreed that the "friendly people" are what make the trips so memorable.
Neuner said that along with the inter-collegiate bridge-building, "We try to make each trip have a real KU flavor for our passengers."
Neuner said the trips include parties just for KU alumni, as well as the singing of KU's Alma Mater and name tags featuring the Kansas Jayhawk.
NEUNER SAID that because the Jayhawk is such a unique mascot, people from all over, even in foreign countries, will associate the bird with KU. Often, she said, those people either attended KU themselves or know someone who did.
KU alumni can still sign up for Flying Jayhawks excursions scheduled for later this year. Those include a trip to China (Sept. 22-Oct. 10), a trip to France (Oct. 20-Nov. 2), and a trip to New York, N.Y., (Oct. 31-Nov. 6).
Neuner said that in conjunction with KU's football game against Oregon State University, the Flying Jayhawks will make a special trip to the Pacific Northwest from Sept. 3 to Sept. 6. In addition to enjoying Oregonian wines and visiting the Hatfield Marine Science Center, alumni on the trip will have reserved seat tickets to the KU-Oregon State game on Sept. 5.
Next year's excursions include a trip through the Panama Canal aboard the new Crystal Harmony cruise ship from Jan. 19 to Jan. 30. Neuner noted that the trip is the first one in several years involving all of the Big Eight schools.
ALSO IN 1993, the Flying Jayhawks will be going to Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, Australia and New Zealand, France, the Baltic Sea, Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, the Danube River, China, the Suez Canal, Sacramento and San Francisco, New Orleans and the Old South, the Santa Fe Trail, and Egypt.
"We've gone just about everywhere in the free world and some places that aren't free," Neuner said.