Nine juvenile whooping cranes are wintering at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Decatur, after their flight to Florida was disrupted by weather and wrangling, the Milwaukee Sentinal reports. The youthful birds will join seven mature whooping cranes who live at Wheeler, along with an abundance of sandhill cranes.
Operation Migration uses a lightweight aircraft to lead the young birds from Wisconsin to Florida, hoping to imprint the migration route on the birds. But bad weather and a dispute over pilot pay kept the birds on the ground till they were too tired and confused to fly any farther.
By Nedra Bloom