The annual migration of Wisconsin’s whooping crane population is having trouble getting off the ground.
Some of the endangered birds make their migration south each winter with the help of the International Crane Foundation, which uses an ultra-light plane to guide them from the Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area.
However, the group’s Joan Garland says they’re a bit off schedule this year. She says they were hoping to get in the air around October, 10, but so far only about half of the 20 birds have made it to the first stop on the migration path. That first stop is only about four miles away from the starting point.
The rough fall weather is getting the blame for keeping them on the ground, since windy conditions prevent the ultra-light plane the birds follow from getting up in the air.
Despite the delay, Garland says there’s no reason to panic since the wild birds have not started their trip yet. She says they often leave as late as November. The earlier starting time for the ultra-light led birds is preferred because it can lengthen the time the trip takes.
Garland says they’re hoping conditions will improve enough in the coming days for them to take off.