Rare migrating whooping cranes reach NW Florida

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Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 1:27 pm | Updated: 9:05 pm, Tue Feb 11, 2014.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Eight endangered whooping cranes being taught to migrate by humans flying tiny airplanes have made it to Florida.

Federal wildlife officials say the cranes that left Wisconsin in October made it to northwest Florida on Tuesday. The birds' stop in Leon County is their last layover before they finish their journey at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge manager Terry Peacock says the cranes likely will fly over the city of St. Marks on their way to their new winter home Wednesday morning. The entire journey covers roughly 1,100 miles through seven states to Florida's Gulf Coast.

It's the 13th migration led by ultralight aircraft flown by an organization called Operation Migration. Only a few hundred whooping cranes remain in the wild.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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