The majestic whooping cranes were on the verge of extinction in the 1940s. Today, there are about 575 known birds with about 400 of those in the wild. Hopefully the upward trend will continue. Through the efforts of Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP), 96 juvenile whooping cranes have been released into the wild to date. Eight of those were set loose Sunday, October 23rd at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County, WI. The young cranes were put into the company of older cranes from whom the young birds will learn the migration route southward.
The group along with Operation Migration using ultralight aircraft began leading another group of 10 young whooping cranes south on October 9th. They took off from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake and Marquette Counties in Wisconsin. They will be leading the birds all the way down to Florida for the winter.
This is really exciting that humans, machines, and birds can work together for the common good! If you would like to learn much more about whooping cranes, their migrations, and these projects please visit http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/