Rain delays whooping cranes learning to migrate

  • Associated Press
  • January 1, 2014 - 12:05 PM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Rain showers have delayed eight endangered whooping cranes ready to complete their journey to their winter home on Florida's Gulf Coast.

The birds are being taught to migrate by humans flying ultralight aircraft. They left Wisconsin in October and landed Tuesday in northwest Florida.

The cranes had been expected to fly over Leon County on Wednesday morning on their way to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

It's the 13th migration led by aircraft flown by an organization called Operation Migration. The organization said Wednesday morning that rain showers had closed in on the cranes' flight path, keeping the birds grounded.

The entire journey covers roughly 1,100 miles through seven states.

Only a few hundred whooping cranes remain in the wild.

© 2014 Star Tribune