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:

Four 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. The other 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.

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 76-18 77-18
    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 

Personality and Characteristics: 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!

Click here to jump to the top of this page


74-18

Gender: Male
Hatch Date: April 28, 2018 

Personality and Characteristics: 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!

Click here to jump to the top of this page


76-18

Gender: Female
Hatch Date: 

Personality and Characteristics: 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.

Click here to jump to the top of this page


77-18

Gender: Male
Hatch Date: June 5, 2018 

Personality and Characteristics: 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.

Click here to jump to the top of this page


W1-18

Gender: Female
Hatch Date: May 2018 

Personality and Characteristics: 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.

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

Click here to jump to the top of this page


W3-18

Gender: Female
Hatch Date: May 2018 

Personality and Characteristics: 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.

Click here to jump to the top of this page


W5-18

Gender: Male
Hatch Date: May 2018 

Personality and Characteristics: 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.

Click here to jump to the top of this page


W6-18

Gender: Male
Hatch Date: June 2018 

Personality and Characteristics: 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.

Click here to jump to the top of this page


W9-18

Gender: Unknown
Hatch Date: June 2018 

Personality and Characteristics: 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

Click here to jump to the top of this page


W10-18

Gender: Unknown
Hatch Date: June 2018 

Personality and Characteristics: 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!