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Whooping cranes return to Alabama national wildlife refuge

6 months 1 week 6 days ago Friday, November 15 2019 Nov 15, 2019 November 15, 2019 11:39 AM November 15, 2019 in News - AP Texas Headlines

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) - Whooping cranes are back at a national wildlife refuge in Alabama.

The International Crane Foundation said Friday that, for the second year in a row, wild-hatched chick W7-17 was the first to arrive at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Decatur. The two-year-old arrived Nov. 9.

She’s among about 100 whoopers in a flock taught to migrate from Wisconsin to Florida by following ultralight aircraft.

Crane foundation outreach assistant A.J. Binney says about one-third of them winter in Alabama. So do about 20,000 sandhill cranes.

A tracking map shows about 14 whooping cranes at the refuge.

The refuge website says whoopers have been seen around the visitor center and wildlife observation building in recent years.

The refuge’s annual Festival of the Cranes will be Jan. 11-12 at the visitor center.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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