Cranes Begin Wisconsin to Florida Flight

NECEDAH, WIS -

Eighteen whooping cranes are on their way to Florida as part of a project to establish a new migratory flock of the endangered birds.

Ultralight aircraft led the 18 young cranes on the first leg of the journey. They left yesterday from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. The trip covered only four miles and was mainly aimed at getting the birds accustomed to sticking with the ultralights.

The cranes were hatched in captivity and then trained by researchers wearing crane costumes to follow the aircraft. On the way south, they are kept in portable pens when they stop for the night or when weather isn't suitable for flying.

Their destination is the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast near Crystal River, Florida.

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