GREEN LAKE COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - Six baby whooping cranes have started their journey from Wisconsin to Florida, as part of a migration project that’s in its 12th year.
The birds took off last Friday from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County – and they’re following an ultralight pilot for their initial voyage.
The cranes spent the night in Green County, about 85 miles from where they took off. And they’re stuck there Thursday, due to high winds.
The Operation Migration group says it’s the second “down day” for the six cranes. CEO Joe Duff says the goal is to get the 6 cranes to their winter nesting spots in Florida by Christmas.
Meanwhile, six other baby cranes have been reared at the Horicon Marsh refuge in Dodge County. And when they take off later this month, they’ll fly with older cranes which have made the trip before.
The Wisconsin birds will head to two spots in Florida, where they’ll spend the winter with other cranes with the goal of expanding populations in the Eastern U.S.
That group now includes over 100 cranes. Officials say there are about 600 total whooping cranes in existence – and almost three-fourths of them are in the wild.