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Whooping cranes begin flight to Florida

A pair of sandhill cranes in a marsh
A pair of sandhill cranes in a marsh

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  For the 13th straight year, Wisconsin baby whooping cranes are flying to Florida to increase the population of the endangered birds in the eastern U-S. The cranes no longer leave in one group from the Necedah refuge, after a risk developed from black flies. So for the second year in a row, the newest cranes left from two locations in southern Wisconsin.

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership said nine young whoopers left the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge late last week, guided by older cranes which have made the trip in the past. On October 2nd, an ultra-light pilot from Operation Migration led eight cranes on their first trip south from the White River Marsh state wildlife area in Green Lake County. They've been stuck for the last five days in Winnebago County Illinois due to unsuitable winds.

The partnership says the migration project has resulted in 110 cranes living in the wild. About 600 total cranes exist today, almost 450 in the wild.

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