Project Updates – 2012

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Whooping Crane Update – November 10, 2012 to January 4, 2013

The attached map indicates the last known location of the Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population. This map does not include birds that have not been reported for over one month, have left a previous location and have not been relocated, or that are long term missing.

Map of January 4, 2013 Whooping Crane locations.

General

Maximum size of the eastern migratory population at the end of the report period was 114 birds (58 males and 56 females). Estimated distribution at the end of the report period or last record included 40 whooping cranes in Indiana, 17 in Florida, 16 in Alabama, 11 in Tennessee, 10 in Illinois, 3 in Kentucky, 3 in Georgia, 8 at unknown locations, 2 not recently reported, and 4 long term missing.  This total does not include the suspected, but not yet confirmed, mortality listed below.

Mortality

Male no. 3-07 disappeared on his wintering territory in Lowndes County, Georgia, after 17 December when he was last observed alive. On 30 December, his mate (no. 38-08) was seen without him and has been regularly observed alone or with the a second pair that is also wintering in the area. No. 3-07’s remains have not yet been located but mortality is suspected.

2011 Cohort

Estimated distribution at the end of the report period is as follows:

Twelve in Alabama, 1 in Tennessee, 1 in Illinois, 1 in Indiana, 1 at an unknown location and 1 long-term missing.

2012 Cohort

Whooping crane with sandhill cranes.

A DAR whooping crane with sandhills during the 2012 fall migration.

Photo by ICF: Eva Szyszkoski

Direct Autumn Release (DAR)

No. 14-12 began migration with sandhill cranes from the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin on 23 November. He was reported “loosely associating” with DAR female no. 28-05 at the Jasper-Pulaski FWA in Jasper County, Indiana, on 25 November. He was next reported with sandhill cranes in Volusia County, Florida, on 9 December where he remains.

Nos. 12, 16 and 17-12 remained in Hendry County, Florida, throughout the report period but are no longer together. On 28 December, no. 12-12 was reported as having a possible leg injury. Efforts to get an observer in the field with tracking equipment to check on his status are ongoing.

Nos. 13 and 15-12 moved from their Hendry County location to Broward County, Florida, on 22 December where they remain.

Ultralight (UL)

The five juveniles in the ultralight-led cohort arrived at their pensite at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Wakulla County, Florida, on 23 November. Permanent colored leg bands and transmitters were attached on 7 December and the five were released from the top netted pen on 11 December.

Long Term Missing

Female no. 27-07 was last reported with sandhills on her usual summering area E of Etna Green, Kosciusko County, Indiana, on the evening of 13 March 2011. Her transmitter is suspected to be nonfunctional.

Female no. 13-08 was last detected in flight near Necedah NWR, Juneau County, Wisconsin, on 6 April 2011.

Male no. 13-11 (DAR) was last detected migrating south over NE Illinois on 29 November 2011.

Female no. 3-10 was last detected on her wintering grounds in Marion County, Florida, on 22 February 2012.

This update is a product of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.

We thank Travis Stoelting (Indiana DNR), Joe Burnam ( Georgia DNR), Dan Kaiser, John Pohl, Susan Braun, Charles Murray and Rick Houlk for tracking assistance and pilot Bev Paulan (Wisconsin DNR) for aerial support.


Whooping Crane Update – September 6 to October 10, 2012

The attached map indicates the last known location of the Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population. This map does not include birds that have not been reported for over one month or that are long term missing.

General

Maximum size of the eastern migratory population at the end of the report period was 104 birds (52 males, 51 females and 1 unknown). Estimated distribution at the end of the report period or last record included 97 whooping cranes in Wisconsin, 2 in Michigan, 1 not recently reported, and 4 long term missing. This total includes 2 wild-hatched chicks.

Captures

Wild-hatched chick no. W1-12 was captured and banded on 10 October. (photos below – one taken before banding and one after)

Before capture and banding
After capture and banding

Updated band and transmitter information can be found in the attached document.

2011 Cohort

Distribution at the end of the report period is as follows:

Wisconsin (16): 2 in Iowa County, 3 in Dane County, 2 in Jefferson County, 1 in Dodge County, 5 in Adams County, 1 in Waushara/Waupaca Counties, 2 in Columbia County.

Long-Term Missing (1): no. 13-11 (see below)

2012 Cohort

Five Direct Autumn Release juveniles were banded with permanent colored leg bands and transmitters at the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County on 4 October. Release is planned for later this month.

Six juveniles in the ultralight-led cohort departed from White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County on 28 September. They are currently located at their fourth stopover location in Winnebago County, Illinois.

Long Term Missing

Female no. 27-07 was last reported with sandhills on her usual summering area E of Etna Green, Kosciusko County, Indiana, on the evening of 13 March 2011. Her transmitter is suspected to be nonfunctional.

Female no. 13-08 was last detected in flight near Necedah NWR, Juneau County, Wisconsin, on 6 April 2011.

Male no. 13-11 (DAR) was last detected migrating south over NE Illinois on 29 November 2011.

Female no. 3-10 was last detected on her wintering grounds in Marion County, Florida, on 22 February 2012.

This update is a product of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. To access our previous project updates and additional information on the project visit our web site at http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/.

We thank pilot Bev Paulan (Wisconsin DNR) for aerial tracking support.


Whooping Crane Update – October 11 to November 12, 2012

The map below indicates the last known location of the Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population. This map does not include birds that have not been reported for over one month, have left a previous location and have not been relocated, or that are long term missing.

Map of whooping crane locations as of 9 November 2012 or last report.

General

Maximum size of the eastern migratory population at the end of the report period was 110 birds (57 males and 53 females). Estimated distribution at the end of the report period or last record included 64 whooping cranes in Wisconsin, 22 in Indiana, 2 in Alabama, 5 in Florida, 1 in Michigan, 10 at unknown locations on migration, 2 not recently reported, and 4 long term missing.

Captures

The following birds were captured for transmitter replacements during the report period:

Female no. 16-07 on 12 October
Female no. 17-07 on 15 October
Female no. 13-03 on 17 October
Male no. 3-04 on 18 October
Male no. 3-07 on 23 October
Male no. 2-04 and females nos. 26-07 and 25-09 on 24 October
Female no. 24-08 on 1 November
Female no. 9-03 on 5 November
Updated band and transmitter information can be found in the attached document.

2011 Cohort

Distribution at the end of the report period is as follows:

Wisconsin (16): 2 in Iowa/Sauk Counties, 3 in Dane County, 2 in Jefferson County, 1 in Dodge County, 5 in Adams County, 1 in Waupaca County, 1 in Marquette County, 1 in Green Lake County.

Long-Term Missing (1): no. 13-11 (see below)

2012 Cohort

Costumed handlers are herding young whooping cranes so they can be boxed and moved for later release among wild adult whooping cranes and sandhill cranes.

Costumed handlers herd young whooping cranes so they can be boxed and moved for later release among wild adult whooping cranes and sandhill cranes.

Photo by ICF; Eva Szyszkoski

One Direct Autumn Release juvenile was banded with permanent colored leg bands and transmitter on 22 October. Five others had previously been banded. The six DAR juveniles were released on the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County, Wisconsin, on the evening of 29 October.

No. 14-12 left Horicon to join sandhill cranes on and near the Theresa Marsh SWA, Washington and Dodge Counties, immediately after release. He remained in this area for the rest of the report period.

Nos. 12 13 15 16 and 17-12 began migration from the Horicon NWR on 31 October. Satellite information indicated roost locations in Lawrence County, Indiana, on 31 October; Chester County, South Carolina, on 2 and 3 November where all five were also visually confirmed; at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Charleston County, South Carolina, on 4 November; Glynn County, Georgia, on 5 November; Clay County, Florida, on 6 November; Manatee County, Florida, on 7 November; at the Everglades National Park, Monroe County, Florida, on 8 November and in Hendry County, Florida, on 9 November.

Six juveniles in the ultralight-led cohort departed from White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, Wisconsin, on 28 September. One died after sustaining a leg injury on 26 October. The remaining five are currently located in Carroll County, Tennessee.

Long Term Missing

Female no. 27-07 was last reported with sandhills on her usual summering area E of Etna Green, Kosciusko County, Indiana, on the evening of 13 March 2011. Her transmitter is suspected to be nonfunctional.
Female no. 13-08 was last detected in flight near Necedah NWR, Juneau County, Wisconsin, on 6 April 2011.
Male no. 13-11 (DAR) was last detected migrating south over NE Illinois on 29 November 2011.
Female no. 3-10 was last detected on her wintering grounds in Marion County, Florida, on 22 February 2012.

This update is a product of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. We thank Travis Stoelting (Indiana DNR), Dan Kaiser and John Pohl for tracking assistance and pilots Bev Paulan & Luke Wuest (Wisconsin DNR) for aerial support.


Whooping Crane Update – 7 August – 5 September 2012

The attached map indicates the last known location of the Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population. This map does not include birds that have not been reported for over one month or that are long term missing.

General

Maximum size of the eastern migratory population at the end of the report period was 104 birds (52 males, 50 females and 2 unknown). Estimated distribution at the end of the report period or last record included 97 whooping cranes in Wisconsin, 2 in Michigan, 2 not recently reported, and 3 long term missing. This total includes 2 wild-hatched chicks.

Mortalities

The intact carcass of female no. 46-07 was found on the Necedah NWR on 28 August. Her remains have been sent to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison for necropsy.

Captures

Nos. 11-02 and 8-09 were captured for transmitter replacements on 19 August.

Wild-hatched chick no. W8-12 was captured for banding on 28 August.

Updated band and transmitter information can be found in the attached document.

2011 Cohort

Estimated distribution at the end of the report period is as follows:

Wisconsin (16): 2 in Iowa County, 3 in Dane County, 3 in Dodge County, 5 in Adams County, 1 in Waushara County, 2 in Columbia County.

Long-Term Missing (1): no. 13-11 (see below)

Long Term Missing

Female no. 27-07 was last reported with sandhills on her usual summering area E of Etna Green, Kosciusko County, Indiana, on the evening of 13 March 2011. Her transmitter is suspected to be nonfunctional.

Female no. 13-08 was detected in flight near Necedah NWR, Juneau County, Wisconsin, on 6 April 2011.

Male no. 13-11 (DAR) was last detected migrating south over NE Illinois on 29 November 2011.

This update is a product of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.


Whooping Crane Update – Spring 2012 Updates

June 16, 2012: Four pairs were observed with chicks.

June 13, 2012: Three pairs were seen with chicks, chick W7-12 was not seen. The pair that was seen incubating yesterday was not on their nest today although an egg could be seen in the nest.

June 12, 2012: Four pairs seen with chicks. Pair 16-02/16-07 were seen without their chick, so chick Chick W9-12 is probably lost. One pair still incubating eggs. One pair that had been incubating were seen without a chick.

June 7, 2102: Five chicks were seen with parents, including W8-12 and the newly hatched W9-12. Two pairs are still incubating.

June 6, 2012: A new chick hatched: W9-12 from pair 16-02/16-07. Three other chicks were observed with parents. W8-12 was not seen but the parents were acting like the chick was present. Two pairs continue incubating eggs.

June 5, 2012: Four chick were observed with parents attending – including W8-12. Three pairs are sitting on nests incubating eggs.

June 1, 2012: The same as yesterday. Again, W8-12 was not seen but its parents were close together. We have three chicks and six pairs incubating nests.

May 31, 2012: Three chicks observed with parents (W1, W5, and W7). W8-12 was not observed although its parents were seen closer together. Six pairs remain on nests incubating eggs.

May 30, 2012: Four chicks are alive (W1-12; W5-12; W7-12; W8-12), 4 pairs are on overdue nests, and 4 pairs are incubating active nests.

May 26, 2012: Four chicks are alive; 2 or possibly 3 pairs are sitting on overdue nests (probably infertile eggs); and 4 pairs are incubating active nests.

May 18, 2012: Eight pairs are on nests (Pair 11-02/8-09 not reported, nest may have failed) and 4 pairs appear to be with chicks.

May 17, 2012: With 2 new chicks since the 14th, there are now 4 pairs with chicks. The new chicks are W5-12 (parents 13-02/18-02) and W6-12 (Parents 16-04/4-09). Nine pairs are on nests; one of those is a new nest for pair 8-09/11-02.

May 16: Nine pairs are on nests, incubating eggs. Four pairs with chicks – although, during the flight two pairs looked like they were attending chicks but the chicks could not be seen.

May 14, 2012: We now have 2 pairs with chicks. Since the last nest flight chicks W2-12 and W3-12 were lost (the chicks in the photo). However, W4-12 is a newly hatched chick (parents 14-08 and 24-08) and the first chick hatched this year, W1-12, is alive and well. Nine pairs are still on nests, incubating eggs – including a new renest for pair 8-04/19-05.

May 9, 2012: Twelve cranes on nests, 1 pair in territory but not on their nest, and 2 pairs with chicks.

May 7, 2012: Another chick hatched! Bird 42-09 has a chick in the nest. The chick that hatched on April 30 remains with its parents. Thirteen cranes were observed on nests and incubating. Since May 4, 1 nest appears to have failed but 2 new nests were observed.

May 4, 2012: Thirteen cranes were observed on nests and incubating. Pair 12-02/19-04 were seen with their chick in their territory. One pair was near, but not on, their nest that had 1 egg. One pair was actively engaged in nest building.

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Chicks W2-12 and W3-12 hatched on May 7 and 8. Parent female 42-09.

Photo by ICF; Eva Szyszkoski

April 30, 2012: Nesting Update

A WCEP Whooping Crane chick hatched today in the wild in Wood County, WI! The chick (#W1-12) was observed by Eva Szyszkoski, International Crane Foundation Tracking Field Manager. The parents are #12-02 and #19-04. This is quite a special hatch, because the parents have been dubbed the “infertile pair”. They have consistently laid eggs, but their eggs are always infertile. Not this time!

The pair proved to be good parents in 2010, when their infertile egg was swapped with a fertile egg and the pair hatched and raised the chick to fledging (#W3-10)—one of only three fledged chicks in the WCEP population. Keep your fingers crossed they’ll do it again. See the News Release for more.

 

April 25 ,2012: Nesting Update

Fourteen nests have incubating pairs; this includes 1 new nest and 1 new nest that is a renest. Three nests that had incubating pairs on April 23, appear to be abandoned.

April 25, 2012: Update on 2011 Whooping Cranes

Eight ultralight-led birds located today; all in Wisconsin. Only one (1-11) is unaccounted for.

April 24, 2012: Update on 2011 Whooping Cranes (i.e., 2011 Hatch Year Birds). Six of the nine ultralight-led birds are in Wisconsin and one (#7-11) was last seen in Minnesota on April 17. Five of the DAR birds are in Wisconsin and and one was last seen in Illinois on March 26.

April 23, 2012: Fifteen nests were observed, including two new nests. One of the new nests is a first attempt (pair 10-09/17-07) and the other new nest is a renesting pair (pair 18-03/36-09).

April 22, 2012: Thirteen nests were observed, including one new nest. The new nest is a renesting pair (pair is 18-03/36-09).

April 18, 2012: Map showing the locations of the nine “2011” whooping cranes migrating from Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

See News Release “Spring Migration is Underway for the “Class of 2011” Whooping Cranes

Read more about the nine migrating birds and how we document their migration progess in Operation Migration’s Field Journal (scroll to April 17 and April 14).

April 17, 2012: 10 nests observed with birds on nests. Eggs confirmed at 2 nests. See Operation Migration Field Journal for photos ( scroll to April 19)

April 15 ,2012:

Three new nests found and on one of those nests an egg was visible. Pairs were seen on 7 previously found nests and eggs could be seen at 2 of those nests.

Summary: 10 nests observed with birds on nests; 3 nests with eggs; 3 new nests found.

March 29, 2012: The first Whooping Crane nest of the season is confirmed! Bev Paulan of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conducted an aerial tracking flight on Monday (March 26) and located pair #3-07 and #38-08 (a Direct Autumn Release bird) incubating on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Many other pairs have been observed nest building, but no other nests have yet been confirmed.

March 22, 2012: The 9 juvenile Whooping cranes at Wheeler NWR in north Alabama are beginning to exhibit signs of restlessness.

March 16: The number of Whooping Cranes that have completed their spring migration continues to increase. As of last night, around 40 birds have been documented back on their territories on and around the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. This afternoon, Eva Szyszkoski, Tracking Field Manager for the International Crane Foundation and WCEP, did a check with a handheld antenna bringing the total up to at least 53, as more cranes were detected in flight over the International Crane Foundation’s headquarters heading north. Perhaps more will pass over before the day is done….stay tuned for more migration news!


Whooping Crane Update – February 20 to March 20, 2012

The map (below) shows the last known location of the Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population. This map does not include birds that have moved to an unknown location from a previous location or that have not been reported for over one month.

General

Maximum size of the eastern migratory population at the end of the report period was 107 birds (54 males and 53 females). Estimated distribution at the end of the report period or last record included 70 whooping cranes in Wisconsin, 4 in Indiana, 9 in Alabama, 4 in Tennessee, 4 in Florida, 14 at unknown locations, and 2 long term missing.

Two adult whooping cranes standing on a pond shoreline.

These whooping cranes were photographed in Indiana during a fall migration.

Photo by USFWS; Steve Gifford

2011 Cohort

Of the eight 2011 Direct Autumn Release juveniles, two (#15-11 and #18-11) are in Marquette County, Wisconsin; two (#17-11 and #20-11) remain at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee; one (#14-11) is in LaPorte and St. Joseph Counties, Indiana; one (#19-11) was last reported in Fayette County, Illinois, on 9 February; one (#16-11) was last reported in Jackson County, Indiana, on 8 March but has left the area; and one (#13-11) was last detected on autumn migration in northern Illinois on 29 November.

The juvenile (#2-11) that broke of from the ultralight led migration on 21 October was last confirmed at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee on 16 February.

The nine remaining juveniles in the ultralight cohort remain at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama.

2010 Cohort

Distribution of the 2010 cohort included 8 in Wisconsin, 2 in Indiana, 1 in Tennessee, 4 in Florida, and 2 at unknown locations.

Eastern U.S. map showing locations of whooping cranes as of March 20, 2012.

HY 2011 Birds = Hatch Year 2011 Birds (Whooping Cranes Hatched in 2011)

This update is a product of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. We thank Brad Feaster and Travis Stoelting (Indiana DNR), Dean Harrigal (South Carolina DNR), Steve Baynes (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), Brooke Pennypacker (Operation Migration), Lee Sterrenburg, John Pohl, Dan Kaiser, Larry McIntosh, Sue Braun and Rick Houlk for ground tracking assistance and Tim Dellinger (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) for aerial tracking assistance.


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