By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A flock of 20 Florida-bound juvenile
whooping cranes will spend Christmas in Alabama.

The birds began migrating from Wisconsin with help from an
ultralight-aircraft on Oct. 16 but their journey was temporarily
suspended in Russellville on Monday.

The break allows Operation Migration staff and volunteers to
return home for Christmas. The assisted migration is scheduled to
resume Dec. 29.

The TimesDaily reports the flock arrived in Russellville on
Friday and was scheduled to depart the next day but strong winds
over the weekend kept them grounded.

The assisted migration is part of an effort to restore the
population of one of the country's rarest birds.

After being led to Florida once, the cranes will be able to
migrate between their winter homes in Florida and breeding grounds
in Wisconsin on their own.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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