Class of 2018

Class of 2018

This year, the only reintroduction technique used was the Parent-Reared release method.

About this Year’s Whooping crane chicks:

Six of this year’s chicks were captive-born and raised by their biological parents in a captive-breeding facility with little human contact. Two of those chicks are biological siblings that were raised at White Oak Conservation Center in Florida and released with their parents in Wisconsin. Two were raised at the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin and were released by themselves near wild Whooping Crane pairs in hopes that the pairs would learn to fly and migrate with their adoptive parents. The other two were raised at the Calgary Zoo, and were released together in Wisconsin in spring of 2019 after a delay the previous fall.

2018 also had the highest number of fledged chicks from wild-hatched birds! Ten chicks hatched from 23 nests, of which six grew to fledging, and five migrated south with their parents.

Parent-reared Whooping Cranes
73-18 74-18 75-18 76-18 77-18 78-18
      Died Oct ’18    
Wild-hatched Whooping Cranes
W1-18 W3-18 W5-18 W6-18 W9-18 W10-18
        Died Sept ’18  

73-18

Gender: Female
Hatch Date: April 26, 2018 

First year: Chicks 73-18 and 74-18 were hatched and raised by adult Whooping Cranes 16-11 and 18-12 at White Oak Conservation Center, a breeding center for endangered species in Yulee, Florida. 16-11 had been placed in captivity to encourage him to pair with a Whooping Crane after he had mated with a Sandhill Crane on his territory at Horicon Marsh. 18-12 was part of the Direct Autumn Release program, but she was injured before release. She recovered from her injuries but remained in captivity. The two were slated to be released on 16-11’s territory in spring of 2018, but instead, they nested at White Oak and hatched and fledged two chicks, 73-18 and 74-18!

Summer 2018: On August 24th, the whole family (16-11, 18-12, 73-18, and 74-18) was flown to Wisconsin by Windway Captial Corp. On August 25th, the family was released at Horicon Marsh near 16-11’s old territory. The family stayed together the first few days, but soon male 16-11 took female chick 73-18 out over his old territory while female 18-12 stayed near the release site with male chick 74-18.

Twins 73-18 and 74-18 after release. Photo: Ted Thousand

Fall 2018: In late September, female 18-12’s remains were found. Male chick 74-18 joined 16-11 and 73-18, and the three spent the fall in 16-11’s territory. On November 18, the family group set out on migration. On November 19, they arrived at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in northern Indiana, where they remained throughout the winter.

16-11 with his two chicks 73-18 and 74-18 near Horicon Marsh. Photo: Doug Pellerin

Fun fact about twins 73-18 and 74-18: even though she’s only two days older, 73-18 gained whiter feathers much sooner than her brother 74-18. In fact, many people mistook her for an adult her first fall in Wisconsin!

Spring 2019: Satellite data from 74-18 indicates that the family returned to Horicon Marsh from Jasper-Pulaski on March 12, making them the first Whooping Cranes to return to Wisconsin in 2019! They also brought another young male, 28-17, back with them. The next day, trackers saw that the chicks have already separated from 16-11, though the two remain in the Horicon area together. 

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74-18

Gender: Male
Hatch Date: April 28, 2018 

First year: Chicks 73-18 and 74-18 were hatched and raised by adult Whooping Cranes 16-11 and 18-12 at White Oak Conservation Center, a breeding center for endangered species in Yulee, Florida. 16-11 had been placed in captivity to encourage him to pair with a Whooping Crane after he had mated with a Sandhill Crane on his territory at Horicon Marsh. 18-12 was part of the Direct Autumn Release program, but she was injured before release. She recovered from her injuries but remained in captivity. The two were slated to be released on 16-11’s territory in spring of 2018, but instead, they nested at White Oak and hatched and fledged two chicks, 73-18 and 74-18!

Summer 2018: On August 24th, the whole family (16-11, 18-12, 73-18, and 74-18) was flown to Wisconsin by Windway Captial Corp. On August 25th, the family was released at Horicon Marsh near 16-11’s old territory. Though the family stayed together the first few days, but soon male 16-11 took female chick 73-18 out over his old territory while female 18-12 stayed near the release site with male chick 74-18.

Twins 73-18 and 74-18 after release. Photo: Ted Thousand

Fall 2018: In late September, female 18-12’s remains were found. Male chick 74-18 joined 16-11 and 73-18, and the three spent the fall in 16-11’s territory. On November 18, the family group set out on migration. On November 19, they arrived at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in northern Indiana, where they remained throughout the winter.

16-11 with his two chicks 73-18 and 74-18 near Horicon Marsh. Photo: Doug Pellerin

Fun fact about twins 73-18 and 74-18: even though she’s only two days older, 73-18 gained whiter feathers much sooner than her brother 74-18. In fact, many people mistook her for an adult her first fall in Wisconsin!

Spring 2019: Satellite data from 74-18 indicates that the family returned to Horicon Marsh from Jasper-Pulaski on March 12, making them the first Whooping Cranes to return to Wisconsin in 2019! They also brought another young male, 28-17, back with them. The next day, trackers saw that the chicks have already separated from 16-11, though the two remain in the Horicon area together. 

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75-18

Gender: Male
Hatch Date:

First year: 75-18 was hatched to a pair of cranes in captivity at the Calgary Zoo in Canada. He and 78-18 were slated for release in Wisconsin, but challenges with weather and permitting caused the duo to spend the winter in Canada and miss their first set of migrations. The pair was brought to Wisconsin at the end of May, and released at Horicon Marsh.

75-18 and 78-18 newly released into Wisconsin. Photo: Hillary Thompson

The two spent their first few weeks together, but eventually split to begin exploring the marsh on their own. The goal is for these two to acclimate to their new surroundings, begin associating with other cranes, and migrate south this fall! 

75-18 near Horicon Marsh. Photo: Mel Mann

In just a few months, 75-18 has lost almost all of his cinnamon feathers!

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76-18

Gender: Female
Hatch Date: 

First year: Number 76-18 was hatched and raised by adult Whooping Cranes at the International Crane Foundation. Her nickname is Real Quiet.

She was released in at White River Marsh in Green Lake County, WI near pair 5-12 and 67-15 on October 2nd. She stayed in the marsh out of view the first few days, but eventually started moving. She never interacted with the target pair, but it is believed she associated with young males in the area 30-16 and 3-17.

Unfortunately, the remains of 76-18 were found in a field where 30-16 and 3-17 had also been seen on October 12th. Cause of death was predation.

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77-18

Gender: Male
Hatch Date: June 5, 2018 

First year: Number 77-18 was hatched and raised by adult Whooping Cranes at the International Crane Foundation. His nickname is American Pharaoh.

He was released in at White River Marsh in Green Lake County, WI near pair 5-12 and 67-15 on October 11th. He interacted with 5-12 and 67-15 for the first few days after being released, but soon moved south and associated primarily with Sandhill Cranes.

He left Wisconsin for migration on November 13 and visited major crane staging areas in northern Indiana and Tennessee before settling for the winter in Sarasota County, Florida.

Spring 2019: In late April, 77-18’s satellite transmitter showed that he left Florida, and began heading north. He stopped in Livingston County, Michigan. It seems unlikely that he will return to Wisconsin this year, but who knows what he’ll do next? 

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78-18

Gender: Female
Hatch Date:

First year: 78-18 was hatched to a pair of cranes in captivity at the Calgary Zoo in Canada. She and 75-18 were slated for release in Wisconsin, but challenges with weather and permitting caused the duo to spend the winter in Canada and miss their first set of migrations. The pair was brought to Wisconsin at the end of May, and released at Horicon Marsh.

75-18 and 78-18 newly released into Wisconsin. Photo: Hillary Thompson

The two spent their first few weeks together, but eventually split to begin exploring the marsh on their own. The goal is for these two to acclimate to their new surroundings, begin associating with other cranes, and migrate south this fall! 

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W1-18

Gender: Female
Hatch Date: May 2018 

First year: This youngster was born in Juneau County, Wisconsin to Whooping Cranes 5-11 and 12-11 in May 2018. Her parents are believed to be the only pair that continued to incubate a nest through April’s late snowstorms. She survived to fledge- blood draws revealed that this chick is a girl! W1-18 was the first chick trackers attempted to capture and band this year, but she ended up being the last chick banded. This is the first chick fledged to this pair.

Can you see chick W1-18 between her parents? Photo: Beverly Paulan

The family group migrated south and was seen in Knox County, Indiana, on November 11.

Spring 2019: W1-18 was first sighted back in Wisconsin in late April. She was in Marathon County, though quickly moved on to Polk County! 

W1-18 is all grown up! Photo: Brian Collins

Ultimately, she returned to Marathon County for the rest of the summer.

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W3-18

Gender: Female
Hatch Date: May 2018 

First year: This chick was born in Adams County, Wisconsin to Whooping Cranes 24-09 and 42-09 in May 2018 and survived to fledge. When trackers captured W3-18 to give her bands, her parents, especially 42-09, were very aggressive and attempted to attack them! Blood draws revealed that this chick is a girl! W3-18 showed a fondness for eating snakes- she was often photographed eating them! This is the second year in a row this pair of parents fledged a chick.

W3-18 follows parents 24-09 and 42-09. Photo: Doug Pellerin

The family group was last seen on their breeding grounds on November 8, and is believed to have been at the parent’s normal wintering grounds in Hopkins County, Kentucky, on November 12.

Spring 2019: W3-18 was first reported in Wisconsin along with parents 24-09 and 42-09 on March 19, and were first seen on their Adams County territory on March 21! Shortly after, she was kicked out of their territory so they could begin nest building.  

Luckily, W3-18 wasn’t alone for long. In mid-April, she began associating with male 11-15. 11-15 returned to Adams County after he was left by his mate W3-17, W3-18’s older sister! However, the pairing was not to be as the two of them separated as well, and W3-18 began associating with older male 16-04 at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in nearby Juneau County.

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W5-18

Gender: Male
Hatch Date: May 2018 

First year: This trickster was born at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge to Whooping Cranes 8-04 and W3-10 in May 2018.Unfortunately, the pair disappeared in mid-June, and the temporary transmitter that had been placed on the chick was found with just a few feathers attached. The team assumed the chick had died- which was why it was such a happy surprise when the whole family reappeared in September with a fully-fledged chick! Blood draws revealed that this chick is a boy! Of special note, W5-18 is the first chick to have fledged to a wild-hatched parent.

The family migrated to Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, his parent’s normal wintering grounds. They were first sighted at Goose Pond in mid-October.

Spring 2019: W5-18 returned with parents 8-04 and W3-10 to Necedah NWR by early April and was kicked out so they could start building their 2019 nest.  

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W6-18

Gender: Male
Hatch Date: June 2018 

First year: This chick was born at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge to Whooping Cranes 1-04 and 16-07 in June 2018 and survived to fledge. Blood draws revealed that this chick is a boy! 1-04 fledged a chick with another mate in 2016, but this is the first chick fledged to this pair.

Photo: Sabine Berzins

He and his parents migrated to Lawrence County, Illinois, where they were first spotted in early November.

Spring 2019: W6-18 was spotted at Necedah National Wildlife Refgue in early April without his parents- they kicked him out of their territory so they could begin their new nesting attempt. He spent the summer moving in and around Necedah.

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W9-18

Gender: Unknown
Hatch Date: June 2018 

First year: This youngster was born at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge to Whooping Cranes 24-08 and 14-08 in June 2018. Unfortunately, dad 14-08 was last seen on July 2. It is unlikely that he would have just left his long-time mate and chick, especially since this pair fledged a chick the year before. 14-08 is believed to be dead.

However, 24-08 did her best to continue raising W9-18 on her own! Unfortunately, W9-18 was found dead on September 15 by trackers at Necedah. The cause of death was predation, likely by coyotes. W9-18 had not been observed flying before death, but based on age, it is believed to have fledged.

W9-18 hides in the marsh. Photo: Sabine Berzins

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W10-18

Gender: Unknown
Hatch Date: June 2018 

First year: This chick was born at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge to Whooping Cranes 23-10 and 4-08 in late June 2018 and survived to fledge. This is the first chick fledged to this pair.

In early November, the family group was seen at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Indiana- chick W10-18 has completed their first migration!

Spring 2019: W10-18 returned to Necedah NWR with her parents, and though she left the refuge, she remained in Juneau County, Wisconsin. 

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