Whoopers on the way
Published: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 2:36 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 2:36 p.m.
OCALA - The 14 whooping crane chicks that are making their maiden migration from Juneau, Wisc., to Florida are getting closer.
The birds were able to fly on Tuesday and were expected to reach Decatur County, Ga., which is only 46 air miles from the staging area in Jefferson County, Fla.
The chicks are following ultralight aircraft being flown by Operation Migration pilots, who are training the young whoopers to migrate. The hope is to create an eastern migratory flock of the endangered birds.
At the staging area, the flock will be divided into two groups, with half wintering in the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The other half will continue south and are expected to fly over the Dunnellon Airport for a public viewing before continuing on to their winter home at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Crystal River.
There is no set date for the Dunnellon flyover. That will depend on weather conditions.
To follow the birds' progress, go to www.operationmigration.org and click on "In the Field."
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