HORICON, Wis. (AP) -- Eighteen young whooping cranes from Wisconsin are on their way to warmer weather.

Eight of the endangered birds were released Sunday from the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County. They are with older cranes so they can learn the migration route south.

The effort is part of a project led by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, a coalition of public and private groups helping reintroduce the whooping crane in eastern North America.

A group of 10 cranes led by ultralight plane left Oct. 9 from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake and Marquette Counties to Florida. They've not made it out of the state yet because of bad weather.

Ninety-six birds have survived since the effort started in 2001.