Operation Migration Lands in Alabama

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DOUBLE SPRINGS, Ala. (AP) -- A group of endangered whooping cranes migrating to Florida has made it to Alabama, but not without some help.

An organization called Operation Migration is using two ultralight airplanes to guide the eight young birds south from Wisconsin, where their journey began on Oct. 2.

The birds are raised in captivity. They're introduced early in life to ultralights and pilots disguised as cranes in hopes they follow when the time comes.

The cranes were in Tennessee before making it to north Alabama. Two of the birds followed the ultralights to Winston County, but six others had to be brought to a landing site in trucks.

The birds had been grounded for two weeks because of weather. They're headed to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on Florida's Gulf Coast.

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