Whooping cranes delayed by rain
TROY, Ala. (AP) - Storms are interfering with the journey of eight young whooping cranes that are migrating to Florida through Alabama, setting back their flight a few days.
The organization guiding the young birds, Operation Migration, says the birds were grounded in southeast Alabama on Friday because of flying conditions. Stormy conditions have kept the whooping cranes grounded all weekend, according to the organization's blog.
"A large, wet, green blob of rain will keep us grounded," they wrote in a blog post on Saturday.
The young birds are being guided along the route by pilots in tiny airplanes called ultralights.
The group is in Pike County south of Montgomery, but workers hope to get the cranes moving again on Monday.
The birds are making a more than 1,100-mile journey from Wisconsin to Florida's Gulf Coast.
In the past, Operation Migration has made a stop at the Marion County Airport along their route to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge near Crystal River.
Budget cuts brought on by the sequester rendered the refuge unable to host this year's flock, making it the third year straight that the whooping cranes will bypass North Central Florida.
The organization is ending the migration at St. Mark's Wildlife Refuge south of Tallahassee instead, where the whooping cranes will spend the winter before flying north on their own in the spring.
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