BARABOO, Wis. -

A plan to save the endangered whooping crane species takes a turn this week when the birds will no longer rely on humans to guide them during fall migration, ending an effort that began 15 years ago with ultralight aircraft.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the slow-moving aircraft will be absent for the first time since 2001, when a public-private partnership launched a new reintroduction plan involving ultralights and humans dressed to look like cranes.

Instead, nine young cranes flown to Wisconsin by private plane Wednesday will be paired with adult cranes in the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County and other areas.

In the coming weeks, three other cranes hatched at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo will be released with the hope they follow adults south for the winter.