Project Updates – 2016

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Whooping Crane Update – December 1, 2016

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month most Whooping Cranes have begun migration or reached their wintering areas. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, the International Crane Foundation, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 105 (48 F, 55 M, 2 U). As of 1 December, at least 21 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in WI, 1 in Iowa, 30 – 31 in Indiana, 6 – 8 in Illinois, 4 in Kentucky, 1 – 3 in Tennessee, 10 – 11 in Alabama, 2 in Florida, and 1 in Louisiana. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during November. See map below.

2015 Wild Chicks
W10_15 was reported in Richland County Illinois on 1 November, with 24_13, 14_08, and 24_08. By the end of November, W10-15 was in Greene County, Indiana with a large group of Whooping Cranes.

W18_15 was last seen with male 16-04 in Juneau County WI on 15 November. By late November, W18-15 wasn’t seen in WI and has likely started migration.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) left Jefferson County, WI on 19 November. She was first seen at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Morgan County AL on 25 November. There are other Whooping Cranes at Wheeler NWR, but she has not yet been directly associating with them.

20_15 (M) left Walworth Co, WI on 19 November. He flew south to southern Alabama, and was at his previous wintering area in St. Martin Parish Louisiana by 24 November. He then moved a bit north to Avoyelles Parish, LA by 28 November.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 62_15 (M), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) continue to be at their wintering grounds in Randolph Co. IL.

65_15 (F) and 27_14 (F) spent the beginning of November in Marathon County, WI, sometimes associating with 70_16 after his release. They then left Wisconsin and were reported in Jasper County IN in late November.

66_15 (F) was in Walworth County in early November. She was loosely associating with 2_15 and 20_15. She has not been reported in WI in late November and has likely started migration.

68_15 (F) was in Dunn County, WI in early November and was reported in Meigs County, TN by the end of the month.

UL 2015 Cohort

2_15 (F) spent all of November in Walworth County. Before their migration, she was loosely associating with 20_15 and 66_15.

6_15 (F) was in Juneau County, WI until 20 November when she and 38_09 were reported in Greene County, IN. She went further south to Wabash County, IL and Knox County, IN, before returning to Greene County, IN.

8_15 (F) spent all of November in Winnebago Co, WI.

10_15 (F), and (presumably) 11_15 (M) spent most of November in LaSalle Co, IL. By the end of the month they had moved to Lawrence County, Alabama.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort
29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) are still in Adams County, WI. Target adults 24_09 and 42_09 have migrated and are likely in Hopkins County, KY (see below).

30_16 (M) is still at White River Marsh in Green Lake Co WI, and is associating with adults 4_12 and 3_14.

31_16 (M) and 38_16 (M) remain near release site in Marquette County, WI.

33_16 (F) is still in Jackson County, Iowa at the end of November.

71_16 (F) spent all of November in Marquette County, WI and is associating with Sandhill Cranes.

69_16 (F) left Dane County, WI with Sandhill Cranes in October and was seen in Jasper County, IN. She arrived at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Morgan County, AL on 10 November and is now closely associating with the pair 1_11 and 59_13.

70_16 (M) was released on 16 November in Marathon County, WI near 65_15 and 27_14. The three associated on some occasions, but the two sub-adults migrated without 70_16 (see above). 70_16 is still in Marathon County at the end of November and is often associating with Sandhill Cranes.

Migration

Wisconsin: As of 29 November, the following birds have been confirmed in WI and have not yet begun migration: 32_09, 7_07, 1_04, 10_10, 41_09, 20_14, 37_07, 19_11, 17_11, 8_15, 18_11, 29_16, 30_16, 4_12, 3_14, 31_16, 38_16, 39_16, 2_15, 70_16, 71_16. There may be other Whooping Cranes in WI for which we have not received reports.

Indiana: 69-16 moved through Jasper County, IN and continued on to Alabama (see above). 28_05, 65_15, and 27_14 have also been confirmed in Jasper County during November (see above). The following cranes have been confirmed in Greene County, IN: 3_11, 7_11, 18_03, 36_09, 34_09, 4_08, 1_10, W1_06, 12_03, 29_09, 24_13, W10_15 (see above), 10_09, 17_07, 29_08, 4_11, 19_10, 6_15 (see above), and 38_09. 19_14, possibly 12_05, 19_09, 25_10, 16_02, and 16_07 were reported in Gibson County, IN. 10_11 was reported in Knox County, IN. 27_06 and 26_09 were reported in Sullivan County, IN.

Illinois: The four 2015 DAR birds (61-15, 62-15, 63-15, 67-15) have spent the summer at their wintering grounds in Randolph County, IL, and continue to be there throughout November (see above). In early November, W10_15, 24_13, 24_08, and 14_08 were in Wayne County IL, but W10_15 and 24_13 have moved to Indiana and 14_08 and 24_08 haven’t been seen again and have likely migrated further south. 9_03 and 3_04 have been confirmed in Richland County, IL.

Iowa: Juvenile 33-16 is still in Jackson County, Iowa (see above).

Kentucky: 2_04 and 25_09 were first confirmed in Hopkins County, KY on 6 November. By late November, another pair joined them. Although we have not yet confirmed IDs, we suspect the pair is 24_09 and 42_09, based on previous winter use of this location and confirmation of other likely pairs further north.

Tennessee: 68_15 has been confirmed in Meigs County, TN (see above). Two other Whooping Cranes were seen in Meigs County earlier in the month, but their IDs could not be confirmed.

Alabama: During November, the following Whooping Cranes were confirmed at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge: 69_16 (see above), 14_15 (see above), 1_11, 59_13, 15_11, 38_08, 5_12, 13_02, and 18_02. 10-15 and (likely) 11-15 are in Lawrence County (see above).

Florida: 8_14 and 4_13 were confirmed in Wakulla County, Florida by St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge staff on 25 November.

Louisiana: 20_15 has returned to Louisiana and is in Avoyelles Parish (see above).

Mortality

None known during November.

Map of whooping crane locations as of 1 December 2016.

Whooping Crane Update – November 1, 2016

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month Whooping Cranes have begun migration! A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, the International Crane Foundation, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 105 (48 F, 55 M, 2 U). As of 1 November, at least 84 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in WI, 1 is currently in Michigan, 1 in Iowa, 5 in Indiana, and 10 are in Illinois. The remaining 4 birds have not been confirmed in WI yet this year. See map below.

2015 Wild Chicks

W10_15 has been associating with adult male 24_13 and a group of other Whooping Cranes in Juneau County throughout October.

W18_15 was associating with its parents 9-03 and 3-04 in Juneau County at the beginning of October, but then went back to Necedah NWR and was again associating with male 16_04.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) has still been in Jefferson Co, WI throughout October. She occasionally associated with 69_16, but did not leave on migration with her.

20_15 (M) is still in Walworth Co, WI where he has been for most of the summer.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 62_15 (M), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) continue to be at their wintering grounds in Randolph Co. IL.

65_15 (F) and 27_14 (F) spent the beginning of October in Wood Co, WI, but moved back to Marathon County later in the month.

66_15 (F) moved from Racine County to Walworth County in October. She is now loosely associating with female 2_15.

68_15 (F) continues to be in Dunn County, WI during October.

UL 2015 Cohort

1_15 (F) remained in Rock County during October, until her remains were found on 20 October (see below).

2_15 (F) spent all of October in Walworth County and began loosely associating with female 66_15.

6_15 (F) spent all of October with a group of adult Whooping Cranes in Juneau County, WI.

8_15 (F) spent all of October in Winnebago Co, WI.

10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) were in Winnebago County in early October, Dodge County, WI, on 13 October, and in LaSalle County, IL by 22 October.

2016 Wild Chicks

W7_16 was last seen with parents in Juneau County on 27 September. The remains of W7_16 were found on 11 October (see below).

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort
29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) are still in Adams County. Adults 24_09 and 42_09 are in the area and are sometimes seen in the same field as the chicks. 34_16 (F) was found dead on 7 October (see below).

30_16 (M) is still at White River Marsh in Green Lake Co, and is associating with adults 4_12 and 3_14.

31_16 (M) and 38_16 (M) were released in Marquette County near adults 7_14 and 4_13. Female 7_14 was last seen in early October and male 4_13 has started associating with female 8_14 (previous associate of 5_12) in Green Lake County. For most of October, there were no adult Whooping Cranes associating with the juveniles. As of 31 October, they remain near release site in Marquette County, WI.

33_16 (F) and 37_16 (M) were released in Juneau Co near adults 12_11 and 5_11. On 17 October, the remains of 37_16 were found near the release site (see below). 33_16 remained with adults until on 21 October she left on migration. She was seen in Jackson County, Iowa on 26 October.

71_16 (F) was released in Green Lake County in September, but on 4 October flew to Marquette County. She spent the rest of October there and is associating with Sandhill Cranes.

69_16 (F) was released in Dane County, WI near adult 14_15 on 9 October. She remained near release site, sometimes near 14_15, until she left on migration with Sandhill Cranes on 24 October. She was seen on 25 October in Jasper County, Indiana.

Migration
Indiana: 69-16 has migrated to Jasper County, IN (see above). Adults 18-03 and 36-09 have migrated to their wintering grounds in Greene County, IN. They arrived on 11 October, which is the earliest report of Whooping Cranes in Greene Co we have had since the beginning of this reintroduction. We have also gotten a report of two Whooping Cranes in Gibson County, but have not yet identified the individuals.

Illinois: The four 2015 DAR birds (61-15, 62-15, 63-15, 67-15) have spent the summer at their wintering grounds in Randolph County, IL, and continue to be there throughout October (see above). 10-15 and 11-15 have also migrated to Illinois, and are currently in LaSalle County (see above). We also received a report of at least four Whooping Cranes in Wayne County IL, but we have not yet been able to identify individuals.

Iowa: Juvenile 33-16 migrated to Jackson County, Iowa in late October (see above).

Mortality

W7_16 was last seen in an agricultural field in Juneau County with parents 12_03 and 29_09 on 27 September. The remains of W7_16 were collected on 11 October, but not enough of the carcass was left to determine cause of death. Predation is suspected due to tracks and scat in the area.

34_16 was found dead on 7 October in Adams County near the release site. Some signs of lethargy were noted on 6 October. The cause of death was predation.

37_16 was last seen on 15 October with 33_16 and adults 5_11 and 12_11 near the release site in Juneau County, WI. His remains were collected 17 October in the same area and the suspected cause of death is predation.

1_15 was found dead on 20 October in Rock County, WI. The preliminary results suggest predation as the likely cause of death.

7_14 was last seen in late September. Her mate 4_13 was then seen with female 8_14, and 4_13 chased off 8_14’s previous associate male 5_12. This behavior leads us to believe 7_14 may be dead, but we have not found a carcass in the area and cannot confirm this suspected mortality.

Whooping Crane Update – October 4,  2016

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month we have released most of this year’s cohort of parent-reared juveniles into Wisconsin. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, the International Crane Foundation, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 109 (50 F, 57 M, 2 U). This total includes wild-hatched and released chicks from 2016. As of 4 October, at least 100 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in WI, 1 is currently in Michigan, and 4 are in Illinois. The remaining 4 birds have not been confirmed in WI yet this year. See map below.

2015 Wild Chicks

W10_15 has been associating with adult male 24_13. They have spent most of the summer at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, but have been moving around Juneau County throughout September.

W18_15 was associating with adult male 16-04. However, in mid-September (who we presume is) W18-15 was seen with its parents 9-03 and 3-04 in Juneau County.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) has still been in Jefferson Co, WI throughout September.

20_15 (M) is still in Walworth Co, WI where he has been for most of the summer.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 62_15 (M), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) continue to be at their wintering grounds in Randolph Co. IL.

65_15 (F) and 27_14 (F) spent part of September in Marathon Co, WI, but started moving around Wood Co later in the month.

66_15 (F) is still in Racine Co, WI.

68_15 (F) has remained in Dunn Co, WI throughout September.

UL 2015 Cohort

1_15 (F) has remained in Rock Co, WI.

2_15 (F) spent all of September in Walworth Co.

6_15 (F) was in Winnebago Co, WI for most of the summer, but during September moved to Adams Co and began associating with male 19_10.

8_15 (F) was in Calumet Co, but moved to Winnebago Co during September.

10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) were in Dane Co, but moved to Outagamie and then to Winnebago Counties.

2016 Wild Chicks

W7_16 is with parents 29_09 and 12_03 in Juneau Co.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M), 34_16 (F), and 39_16 (M) were released in Adams County near adults 24_09 and 42_09.

30_16 (M) and 71_16 (F) were released at White River Marsh in Green Lake Co, near 4_12/3_14 and 5_12/8_14.

31_16 (M) and 38_16 (M) were released in Marquette County near adults 7_14 and 4_13.

32_16 (F) was released in Outagamie County near 10_15 and 11_15 on 17 September and was found dead on 19 September (see below).

33_16 (F) and 37_16 (M) were released in Juneau Co near adults 12_11 and 5_11.

Mortality

The remains of 15_09 (F) were found on 7 September at Necedah NWR. They were brought in for necropsy, but the cause of death remains undetermined.

Parent-reared juvenile 32-16 was found dead 19 September in Outagamie County after release. This chick was likely killed by a coyote.

Whooping Crane Update – September 1, 2016

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 100 (48 F, 50 M, 2 U). This total does not include wild-hatched chicks from 2016. As of 1 August, at least 90 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in WI, 1 is currently in Michigan, and 4 are in Illinois. The remaining 5 birds have not been confirmed in WI yet this spring. See map below.

2015 Wild Chicks

Both wild-hatched chicks have been seen regularly in Necedah National Wildlife Refuge during August. W10_15 has been associating with adult male 24_13. W18_15 has still been associating with adult male 16-04.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) has still been in Jefferson Co, WI throughout August.

20_15 (M) is currently in Walworth Co, WI.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 62_15 (M), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) continue to be at their wintering grounds in Randolph Co. IL.

65_15 (F) has still been with 27_14 (F) in Marathon Co, WI.

66_15 (F) is currently in Racine Co, WI.

68_15 (F) has remained in Dunn Co, WI throughout August.

64_15 (F) was last seen leaving Horicon in fall of 2015 with a large group of Sandhill cranes and has not been reported at a winter location nor in WI this spring.

UL 2015 Cohort

1_15 (F) has remained in Rock Co, WI throughout August.

6_15 (F) is still in Winnebago Co, WI.

8_15 (F) is still in Calumet Co, WI.

10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) have been moving around a bit, but are currently in Dane Co.

2_15 (F) spent all of July in Walworth Co.

Reproduction

There have been a total of 46 nests by 29 different pairs. Seven nests had eggs removed as part of the re-nesting experiment, 2 nests were incubated past full term, 23 chicks have hatched from 16 nests, and the remaining nests failed. There is one chick alive at the time of this update.

W3_16 was last seen 17 July on territory in Wood Co with its mother. Adult 4-11 was seen in Juneau Co without W3-16, who is now assumed dead.

W7_16 is the only remaining wild-hatched chick and is with parents 29_09 and 12_03 in Juneau Co. On 1 September, W7-16 was captured and banded.

W9_16 was found dead in Juneau Co on 23 August.

Injury

There are no new injuries to report.

Mortality

Male 11_02 was last seen on 1 July, 2016 on territory with mate (15-09) and chick (W12-16) in Juneau Co, WI. The carcass of 11_02 was recovered in August.

Whooping Crane Update – August 1, 2016

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 100 (48 F, 50 M, 2 U). This total does not include wild-hatched chicks from 2016. As of 1 August, at least 90 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in WI, 1 is currently in Michigan, and 4 are in Illinois. The remaining 5 birds have not been confirmed in WI yet this spring. See map below.

2015 Wild Chicks

The bird we presume is W10_15, based on size and lack of bands, has been seen regularly in Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.

The other unbanded bird, W18_15, has been hanging out in Monroe Co, WI with an adult male, 16-04.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) has been in Jefferson Co, WI throughout July.

20_15 (M) is currently in Walworth Co, WI.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 62_15 (M), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) spent all of July at their wintering grounds in Randolph Co. IL. They are currently still in IL.

65_15 (F) has still been with 27_14 (F) in Marathon Co, WI.

66_15 (F) spent July moving around in southeastern WI and was last reported in Racine Co.

68_15 (F) has remained in Dunn Co, WI throughout July.

64_15 (F) was last seen leaving Horicon in fall of 2015 with a large group of Sandhill cranes and has not been reported at a winter location nor in WI this spring.

Ultra-light 2015 Cohort

1_15 (F) has remained in Rock Co, WI throughout July.

6_15 (F) is still in Winnebago Co, WI.

8_15 (F) is still in Calumet Co, WI.

10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) spent the first part of July in LaSalle Co, IL, but then came back to WI and are currently in Dane Co.

2_15 (F) spent all of July in Walworth Co.

Reproduction

There have been a total of 46 nests by 29 different pairs. Seven nests had eggs removed as part of the re-nesting experiment, 2 nests were incubated past full term, 23 chicks hatched from 16 nests, and the remaining nests failed. There are at most 3 chicks alive at the time of this update.

W3_16 spent July in Wood Co with parent 4_11. W3_16 has likely fledged and hasn’t been seen on territory since 17 July. We got PTT locations from 4-11 at Necedah NWR but have not yet gotten a visual of the duo.

W7_16 is with parents 29_09 and 12_03 in Juneau Co.

W9_16 is with parents 1_04 and 8_05 in Juneau Co.

Injury

There are no new injuries to report.

Suspected Mortality

Male 11_02 was last seen on 1 July, 2016 on territory with mate (15-09) and chick (W12-16) in Juneau Co, WI. 15-09 and W12-16 were seen together without 11-02 on 5 July, and 15-09 was seen alone on 11 July. By 13 July, 15-09 was seen with male 11-09 (her previous mate before 11-02). DNR and Refuge staff have searched extensively on the ground and from the air for 11-02 with no luck. At this time, he is suspected dead and has been removed from population totals above.

Whooping Crane Update – July 5, 2016

Nesting season is complete for 2016. So far 23 chicks have hatched, and as of 1 July, 6 chicks are still alive. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 101 (48 F, 51 M, 2 U). This total does not include wild-hatched chicks from 2016. As of 1 July, at least 89 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in WI, 1 is currently in Michigan, and 6 are in Illinois. The remaining 5 birds have not been confirmed in WI yet this spring. See map below.

2015 Wild Chicks

The bird we presume is W10_15, based on size and lack of bands, has been seen regularly in Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.

The other unbanded bird, W18_15, has been hanging out in Monroe Co, WI with an adult male, 16-04.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) has been moving between Jefferson and Dane Counties, WI.

20_15 (M) has been in Walworth Co, WI for most of the month of June.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 62_15 (M), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) spent all of June at their wintering grounds in Randolph Co. IL. They are currently still in IL.

65_15 (F) has still been with 27_14 (F) in Marathon Co, WI.

66_15 (F) completed migration on 31 May and is currently in Racine Co, WI.

68_15 (F) has been seen in Dunn Co, WI fairly consistently throughout June.

64_15 (F) was last seen leaving Horicon with a large group of Sandhill cranes and has not been reported at a winter location nor in WI this spring.

UL 2015 Cohort

1_15 (F) has remained in Rock Co, WI throughout June.

6_15 (F), 8_15 (F), 10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) were in Winnebago Co, WI in early June. They then flew up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and back to Wisconsin, where this foursome split up. 6_15 is currently in Winnebago Co, 8_15 is in Calumet Co, and 10_15 and 11_15 are together in LaSalle Co, IL.

2_15 (F) went south to McHenry Co, IL in early June, but has returned to Wisconsin and is currently in Walworth Co.

Reproduction

There have been a total of 46 nests by 29 different pairs. Seven* nests had eggs removed as part of the re-nesting experiment, 2 nests were incubated past full term, 23 chicks have hatched from 16 nests, and the remaining nests failed. There are 6 chicks known to be alive at the time of this update. (* corrected from last update.) Chicks in bold are currently alive.

W1_16, W2_16 (parents 13_03 and 9_05 in Juneau Co) are no longer alive.

W3_16 was first seen 3 May with parents 12_02 and 4_11 in Wood Co, WI. Male 12_02 was found dead (see below), but W3_16 and Female 4_11 are still alive.

W4_16 (parents 12_11 and 5_11 in Juneau Co, WI) is no longer alive.

W5_16 (parents 3_11 and 7_11 in Adams Co) is no longer alive.

W6_16 (parents 1_11 and 59_13 in St. Croix Co) is no longer alive.

W7_16 and W8_16 hatched 24, 25 May respectively to parents 29_09 and 12_03 in Juneau Co. W8_16 was last seen 7 June and W7_16 is with parents on territory.

W9_16 and W10_16 were first seen 26, 28 May respectively with parents 1_04 and 8_05 in Juneau Co. W10 was last seen 2 June and W9 is with parents on territory.

W11_16 and W12_16 were first seen 27, 29 May with parents 11_02 and 15_09 in Juneau Co. W11 was likely predated on 17 June and W12 is with parents on territory.

W13_16 and W14_16 were first seen 28, 30 May with parents 9_03 and 3_04 in Juneau Co. Neither of these chicks are still alive.

W15_16 hatched 28 May to parents 18_03 and 36_09 in Juneau Co. W15 is no longer alive.

W16_16 and W17_16 were first seen 2 and 5 June respectively with parents W1_06 and 1_10 in Juneau Co. Neither of these chicks are still alive.

W18_16 hatched 5 June to parents 16_02 and 16_07 in Juneau Co and is no longer alive.

W19_16 hatched 5 June to parents 2_04 and 25_09 in Juneau Co.

W20_16 hatched 5 June to parents 18_09 and 23_10 in Juneau Co.

W21_16 hatched 7 June to parents 4_08 and 34_09 in Juneau Co and is no longer alive.

W22_16 hatched 10 June to parents 27_06 and 26_09 in Juneau Co and is no longer alive.

W23_16 hatched 28 June to parents 24_09 and 42_09 in Adams Co and is no longer alive.

Injury

There are no new injuries to report.

Mortality

12_02 (M) was found dead on 2 June in Wood Co, WI. There were no outward signs of injury or predation. Initial results from the necropsy indicate the cause of death is potentially a bacterial infection. His mate (4_11) and chick (W3_16) are currently still on territory.

Whooping Crane Update – June 1, 2016

Nesting season is well underway for 2016 with first nests already hatched and re-nests due to hatch very soon. The 2015 cohort has begun their wandering phase and has been moving around quite a bit this spring. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 102 (48 F, 52 M, 2 U). As of 1 June, at least 87 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Wisconsin, 1 is currently in Michigan, 6 are in Illinois, 1 in Minnesota, and 1 is in Indiana. The remaining 6 birds have not been confirmed in Wisconsin yet this spring. See map below.

Wild Chicks

The bird we presume is W10_15, based on size and lack of bands, has been seen regularly in Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.

The other unbanded bird, W18_15, has been hanging out in Monroe County, Wisconsin with an adult male, 16-04.

Parent-Reared Chicks

14_15 (F) was loosely associating with 20_15 in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. However, while they are both currently in Jefferson Co, they are not currently together. She has not been showing signs of her previous injury and has flown to WI from IN since the injury occurred.

20_15 (M) has been loosely associating with 14_15 in Jefferson County, Wisconsin. See above.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 62_15 (M), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) migrated from their wintering grounds in Randolph Co, IL to Macomb Co, MI. They moved around Michigan for a while and were captured and translocated back to WI on 5 May. They then spent about a week at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge before migrating west and south to Boone Co, MO and then back to their wintering grounds in Randolph County, Illinois. They are currently still in Illinois.

65_15 (F) migrated north from Indiana to Michigan, where she moved around for a while. She then found her way around Lake Michigan and is currently associating with 27_14 (F) in Marathon County, Wisconsin.

64_15 (F) was last seen leaving Horicon with a large group of sandhill cranes and has not been reported at a winter location nor in Wisconsin this spring.

66_15 (F)  spent the winter in Lake Co FL and began her northward migration on 25 May. She is currently in Hamilton Co IN and is still heading north.

UL 2015 Cohort

1_15 (F) was last reported in Rock County, Wisconsin on 16 May.

6_15 (F), 8_15 (F), 10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) migrated back to Wisconsin in April, returned to Lasalle County, Illinois from about 8 May – 23 May, and are currently in Winnebago County, Wisconsin.

2_15 (F) migrated back to Wisconsin and spent most of April in Door County, Wisconsin. She then began moving south again and is currently in McHenry County, Illinois.

Reproduction

To date there have been a total of 42 nests by 27 different pairs. Fifteen first nests failed, 8 had eggs removed as part of the re-nesting experiment, 1 nest was incubated past full term, 6 chicks have hatched from 5 nests so far, and 15 nests are currently active. Six of these re-nests may have already hatched, but we have not yet confirmed chicks. There are 3 chicks known to be alive at the time of this update.

W1_16, W2_16 hatched 1-2 May to parents 13_03 and 9_05 at Necedah NWR. W2 is no longer alive and on the last DNR survey flight, neither W1 nor the adults were found. They have non-functioning transmitters, but will hopefully be seen on the next flight or by Refuge staff. W1_16 was last seen 12 May.

W3_16 was first seen 3 May with parents 12_02 and 4_11 in Wood County, Wisconsin, and is still alive.

W4_16 was first seen 5 May with parents 12_11 and 5_11 in Juneau County, Wisconsin, and is no longer alive.

W5_16 was first seen 12 May with parents 3_11 and 7_11 in Adams County, Wisconsin, and is still alive.

W6_16 was first seen 17 May with parents 1_11 and 59_13 in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, and is still alive.

Injury

14_15 (F) was reported in LaPorte County, IN on 28 March with a bad limp. She was still able to fly at least short distance. She has flown back to WI and does not currently show signs of injury.

There are no new injuries to report.

Mortality

9_13 (M) was found dead 4 April in Marquette County, Wisconsin. Cause of death has not yet been determined, although predation is suspected.

Map showing whooping crane locations, June 1, 2016.

Whooping Crane Update – March 2016

The 2015 cohort of Ultralight birds has been banded and released at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Spring migration is well underway, with more sightings of birds returning to Wisconsin every day. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes on their wintering grounds and throughout their migration. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 103 (48 F, 53 M, 2 U). As of 31 March approximately 43{3f72e8ded4d47acce7842a60e006ced52f5015bd23a49866b41b0e3eb0f030be} of the population has been confirmed in Wisconsin. The attached map shows last known locations, so some birds who have begun migration but have not been confirmed farther north may still be shown on their wintering grounds.

Wild Chicks

W10_15’s parents 2_04/25_09 returned to Necedah NWR as of mid-March. W10_15 was photographed alone in Vernon County, Wisconsin on 26 March.

W18_15 is still with its parents (9_03/3_04) in Wayne Co, IL as of 21 March.

Parent-Reared Chicks

14_15 (F) associates with a pair of adult whooping cranes in LaPorte County, Indiana, but unfortunately appears to be injured (see below).

20_15 (M) is still alone in Louisiana but starting to move north, currently in Concordia Parish.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 62_15 (M), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) are still located together in Randolph Co, IL.

65_15 (F) has begun to travel north, currently located in Kosciusko Co, IN.

66_15 (F) is still located in Lake Co, FL.

68_15 (F) last located in January near Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area.

64_15 (F) was last seen leaving Horicon with a large group of sandhill cranes and has not been reported at a winter location.

UL 2015 Cohort

1_15 (F), 6_15 (F), 8_15 (F), 10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) left St. Marks together 30 March and at last GPS reading were located in Elmore Co, AL.

2_15 (F) began migration with a group of older birds but split off and veered into eastern Indiana for several days. However, as of 31 March her GPS points put her in Iroquois Co, IL, back on the right track and hopefully headed towards Wisconsin.

New Pairs

1_11 (M) and 59_13 (F) have returned together from their wintering location at Wheeler NWR to 1_11’s summer territory in St. Croix County, WI.

3_14 (F) and 4_12 (M) have returned together to the White River Marsh area in Green Lake Co, WI.

14_12 (M) and 27_14 (F) have been seen associating frequently in LaPorte Co, IN in the past month. It remains to be seen whether they will continue to migrate together.

Injury

14_15 (F) was reported in LaPorte County, IN on 28 March with a bad limp. She was still able to fly at least short distance. We will continue to monitor the situation and determine the best course of action.

Mortality

7_09 (F) found dead 12 March in Lawrence Co, IL. Cause of death has not yet been determined, although predation is suspected.

Map of whooping crane locations March 2016

Whooping Crane Update – January 2016

The adult cranes have all arrived on their wintering grounds (see January Update Map below), the Ultralight migration is still underway (for updates see Operation Migration’s Field Journal), and the Direct Autumn Release birds have all migrated from Horicon NWR (see DAR 2015 Movement Map below). The current maximum population size is 99 birds (52 males, 45 females, 2 unknown). Many thanks to our crane trackers at ICF, as well as Heather Ray, Wisconsin DNR pilots Bev Paulan and Mike Callahan, and the volunteers and public all working to help us keep an eye on our birds wherever they may roam.

Wild Chicks

W10_15 left from Necedah NWR with its parents (2_04/25_09). The pair was reported for the first time on a wintering area in Kentucky 1/14/2016 and no chick was mentioned, however we are currently working on verifying the exact location and whether they are still with a chick.

W18_15 is still with its parents (9_03/3_04) in Wayne Co, IL.

Parent-Reared Chicks

14_15 (F) migrated with sandhill cranes to Wheeler NWR, AL.

20_15 (M) is alone in St. Martin Co, LA.

DAR Cohort Migration

61_15, 62_15, 63_15, and 67_15 (blue squares on DAR 2015 Movement map below) set off from Horicon on 12/19/2015 with 65_15 and without following adult whooping cranes or sandhills. They stayed in McHenry Co, IL for ten days, then continued south and eventually southwest to the border of Randolph Co, IL and Sainte Genevieve Co, MO.

65_15 (yellow triangles on map) traveled with four other DAR to McHenry Co, IL but on 12/21/2015 she split off from the group and joined up with a group of approximately 30 sandhill cranes. She migrated with them to the Goose Pond area where several adult whooping cranes winter.

66_15 (red circles on map) migrated with a large group of sandhill cranes from southern Wisconsin to Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area in Indiana, and eventually to Lake Co, FL.

68_15 (not included on movement map) was last tracked in southern Wisconsin with a large group of sandhill cranes in mid-December but was just verified near Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area 1/16/2016.

64_15 was last seen leaving Horicon with a large group of sandhill cranes and has not been reported at a winter location yet.

Mortalities

10_14 (F) was recovered on 1/1/2016. The cause of death has not been confirmed but predation by bobcat is suspected.

Map showing movements of Direct Autumn Release whooping cranes in 2015.

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