While most birds are flying south for the winter, Seahawks fans are heading east.
Into the icy depths of New Jersey, into MetLife Stadium, into the Super Bowl.
Dozens of Whatcom County fans are joining the winged migration, donning neon green wigs and capes and packing bags of Skittles as they fly to New Jersey to watch their team face off against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Feb. 2.
After weeks of vocal 12th Man mania, these local fans are putting their money where their mouth is to root for their team at the final game.
"I don't think Denver has ever seen anything like us," Bellingham's Amber Morrison said. "I think Peyton (Manning) is in for a shock."
HAWK'S NEST FLIES
Fred Lindsey is hoping the second time is the charm when it comes to the Seahawks at the Super Bowl.
The Ferndale resident went to the Super Bowl in 2006 when the Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he thinks the team has a better chance this time around. The defense has been good this year, and he doesn't think the team will give up plays the way it did in that game.
"It's just more of an exciting team as far as what they can do," he said.
Lindsey has been a Seahawks fan since the team joined the NFL in 1976, and he's been a season ticket holder since he moved to Washington from Hawaii 13 years ago.
The moment the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers to clinch a trip to the Super Bowl this year, Lindsey said he almost couldn't believe it.
"Man, we were just jumping up and down, hugging everybody," he said.
Once the reality of the win set in, he wondered how he was going to get tickets to the big game. When he got the email that he was chosen in the season-ticket-holder lottery to buy Super Bowl tickets at face value, he didn't have to think twice.
"Oh my God," he said. "That was it. Decision was made. We were going."
Lindsey and a friend are heading Friday to Philadelphia, where they are staying to cut down on costs. From there, they'll take the train into Jersey for the game.
"It's just a dream come true," he said. "You get to go to the final game."
He usually has a series of traditions for every home game: fly his flags, stop at Uwajimaya for kalua pork and cabbage, park in the same spot and wear the same outfit. In New Jersey, though, the outfit - white jersey, green pants, Seahawks shoes, dreadlocks and lots of beads - will have to do.
"All I will do is have the same outfit and be screaming my lungs out like we do down here," he said.
Last time the Seahawks were in the Super Bowl, Lindsey was voted Whatcom County's biggest fan in a contest put on by The Bellingham Herald. He's got a Seahawks-themed truck and he's converted a room in his house to a Hawks Nest, chock full of team memorabilia.
He hopes the 12th Man can help bring the team to victory once more.
"There are so many great fans out here," he said. "It's just too bad that we all can't go together since everybody was involved. But those of us who are going just have to represent for everybody and bring that trophy home."
In a world of suits and ties, Bellingham financial advisor Toni Taft prefers her green and white spiked wig.
Taft - who describes herself as a diehard Seahawks fan - has spent the last two weeks ordering Seahawks gear for layering and sewing a green and white spiked wig onto a knitted cap. It's going to be cold where she's going.
And it's going to be loud.
"The energy is going to be second to none," Taft said of the Super Bowl. "I'm excited to see how many Seahawks fans are going to be there. The 12th Man is so strong. I would be surprised if there's not more Seahawks fans than Bronco fans."
Taft's father, Mukilteo resident Sparky Taft, was able to get tickets through a business connection, and he invited his daughter to go with him. She couldn't believe her luck.
"I've been a fan for decades," she said. "I've been watching them for years, back in the Kingdome days."
Finding out she was going to the Super Bowl was probably one of the most exciting moments in her life. Coming in second was her experience watching the Seahawks win the playoff game that took them to the Super Bowl in 2006.
She didn't make it to the Super Bowl that year, and the Seahawks lost. This year, she's thrilled to see them go all the way again, and she thinks the odds are good that this time the team can pull out a win.
"This season has been very exciting," she said. "We've got a tremendous team: a very powerful defense and an exceptional offense. We need to put the two together and have them playing at the same time to win."
Taft said she's been walking around her office in her Seahawks hat and green wig to show her support. In her office, she's got the 12th Man flag waving, along with a Russell Wilson-signed ball and a Golden Tate autographed helmet - her prized possessions. In New Jersey, she plans to do her part by going all out with her Seahawks gear. She's got the spiky wig and team apparel, she's hoping to bring a "D-fence" sign and she really wants to get her face painted.
"I'm definitely going to go as much in character as I can," Taft said. "I'm like a little kid in a candy store right now."
In recent days before her departure for New York on Friday, Taft has been in a bit of a green and blue fog.
"It's hard to focus because I'm so excited," she said. "I'm more excited than I have been in years."
There will be no tropical vacations to celebrate 10 years of marriage for Amber and Scott Morrison.
Instead, the Bellingham couple is ringing in their 10-year anniversary with a trip to chilly New Jersey for the Super Bowl, and the Seahawks season ticket holders would take that over a beach any day.
When friends have asked them if they were going to Hawaii or Mexico for their anniversary, which was Jan. 17, they've gleefully been replying, "We're going to the Super Bowl!" Amber said.
The couple has had season tickets for the last five years, and though they didn't get tickets in the lottery, they were able to purchase a pair online.
"We decided that if they went to the Super Bowl, we weren't going to miss it," Amber said. "We're going to take it all the way."
She can't believe she'll get to see the battle of Manning vs. the Legion of Boom, as the Seattle secondary is known, in person.
"I still sometimes have to remind myself that we are (going to the Super Bowl)," she said. "It doesn't seem real."
The couple has never been to New York, so they're making a weekend out of the trip, staying in Jersey City and taking a trip into the city. Amber - who usually goes on a run in Seahawks gear to work out her nerves on game day mornings - is planning on running a 5k in her team apparel while she's in Jersey, partially to stay in shape and partially to keep the tradition alive.
The couple's other game-day traditions include a set wardrobe.
"We wear the same clothes every game, same socks, same shoes," Amber said.
The one time her husband wore a new pair of socks he had gotten as a gift, the Hawks ended up losing.
"Those socks have never been allowed back on again," she said.
Amber wears a superhero costume to each game and calls herself Super Hawk. She'll be packing up the cape, mask, gloves, tights, knee-high socks and underwear to bring to the big game, and is adding down jackets and Seahawks-colored ski pants to keep the chill out.
"The cape needs to fly one more time," she said.
Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.