|Whooping Cranes / USFWS Photo|
Nine young whooping cranes grounded in Alabama since December can resume their winter migration to Florida guided by their surrogate mother -- an ultralight aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration decided today.Presumably this will allow the young cranes to reach their assigned wintering grounds in Florida before the winter ends. Meanwhile, Operation Migration will need to either work out its issues with the FAA or come up with a new plan for helping the birds migrate next fall.
Because the endangered birds were in mid-migration, the FAA granted a one-time exemption to let Operation Migration continue, The New York Times says.
The hatchlings, the ultralight and its human pilot (wearing a bird costume) have been cooling their heels in Franklin County, Ala., about 550 miles from their final destination. They left Wisconsin in late fall.