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Whooping Cranes On Their Way To Florida

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Young Whooping Cranes completing their first migration, from Wisconsin to Florida, in January 2009, following an ultralight aircraft. This procedure is carried out by Operation Migration. (Source: CBS4)

Young Whooping Cranes completing their first migration, from Wisconsin to Florida, in January 2009, following an ultralight aircraft. This procedure is carried out by Operation Migration. (Source: CBS4)

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GREEN LAKE, Wis. (CBSMiami/AP) — The snow birds are flying south for winter and we mean that literally.

A group of young whooping cranes being led by small planes has started their long trek from Wisconsin to Florida.

The six cranes are the 12th group to take part in a project led by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. It’s an international coalition of public and private groups reintroducing the species in eastern North America.

One of the partners is Operation Migration, which is using two ultralight planes to lead the cranes.

The cranes left Sept. 28 from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County. They were in Winnebago County in Illinois this week, where they were waiting out high winds before moving on.

The leader of the ultralight team, Joe Duff, says he hopes to arrive in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, near Tallahassee, by Christmas.

The Whooping Crane was declared endangered in 1967.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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