Project Updates – 2017

December | November | OctoberSeptemberAugustJulyJuneMayApril | March | February | January


December 1, 2017

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month most Whooping Cranes have migrated south. 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 111 (51 F, 57 M, 3 U). This includes two fledged 2017 wild-hatched chicks, and the released parent-reared and costume-reared juveniles. As of 1 December, there are still 9 Whooping Cranes in Wisconsin, 6 in Illinois, 42 in Indiana, 6 in Kentucky, 2 in Tennessee, 14 in Alabama, 3 in Florida, and 1 in Louisiana. The remaining Whooping Cranes’ locations have either not been confirmed during November or they’ve left Wisconsin but haven’t been confirmed further south. See map below.

2017 Wild-hatched chicks

W3_17 (U) was last seen with its parents (24_09 and 42_09) in Adams Co, WI on 1 Nov and by 8 Nov had made it to their wintering area in Hopkins Co, Kentucky.

W7_17 (F) was last seen with its parents (14_08 and 24_08) in Juneau Co, WI on 8 Nov. This family group is currently at their wintering area in Morgan Co, AL at Wheeler NWR.

Parent-Reared 2017 Cohort

19_17 (M) and 25_17 (M) left Marathon Co, WI with adults 2_15 (F) and 28_05 (F) on 9 November and are currently in Jackson Co, AL.

26_17 (F) left Wisconsin on 6 November. She is currently in Gibson Co, Indiana, but we have not yet confirmed if she is with any adult Whooping Cranes or Sandhill Cranes. We suspect she may be with 11-15 (M) and 4-14 (M), since she was associating with them prior to migration and they have not yet been seen further south.

28_17 (M) was last seen in Walworth Co, WI on 10 November in the same general area as 20-15 and 69-16. He does not have a remote tracking device and has not yet been confirmed further south. However, he has not been seen again in WI and we suspect he has begun migration, likely with Sandhill Cranes.

24_17 (M) left Dodge Co, WI on 19 November, likely with Sandhill Cranes. He is currently in Jasper Co, Indiana, and was seen associating with 12-09, 16-12, and 63-15, and near 71_16.

72_17 (M) left Winnebago Co, WI on 16 November. He migrated with Sandhill Cranes, and is currently in Hendry Co, Florida.

30_17 (F) left Dodge Co, WI on 11 November and migrated to the Mississippi River in Jackson Co, Iowa. She then went south, and is currently in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.

38_17 (F) was seen associating with adults 63_15 and 71_16, but she did not leave on migration with them. She is currently still in Dodge Co, WI, associating with Sandhill Cranes.

39_17 (F) is also currently still in Dodge Co, WI, associating with Sandhill Cranes.

36_17 (F) and 37_17 (F) did not migrate south with adults 29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M), but did leave their release area on 12 November. On 13 November, the remains of 37_17 were found in Juneau Co (see below).

36_17 continued south and is currently in Jasper Co, IN with Sandhill Cranes.

Costume-Reared 2017 Cohort

were regularly associating with two older males, 5_12 and 30_16, but did not migrate with them or with other adult Whooping Cranes or Sandhill Cranes that were around White River Marsh SWA.

On 22 November, 3_17 and 7_17 were captured and translocated to Sauk Co, WI to be released in a flock of Sandhill Cranes, in an effort to encourage migration. By the end of November, they are in Fulton Co, IL.

On 28 November, 4_17 and 6_17 were also captured and translocated to Sauk Co, WI, where they are currently with Sandhill Cranes.

The remaining juveniles in this cohort (1_17, 2_17, and 8_17) are still in central WI, either in Marquette or Green Lake Counties. 

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) left Marathon Co, WI on 10 November and are currently at their wintering site in Dyer Co, TN.

30_16 (M) was last seen with 5_12 (M) in Green Lake Co, WI on 9 November. They are currently in Wakulla Co, FL at St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge.

31_16 (M) was last seen in Winnebago Co, WI on 5 November but has likely begun migration.

33_16 (F) remained along the Mississippi River either in Clinton Co, IA or Carroll Co, IL during November.

69_16 (F) left Walworth Co, WI on 13 Nov and is currently in Morgan Co, AL, at Wheeler NWR with other adult Whooping Cranes (see below).

70_16 (M) is still in Knox County, KY.

71_16 (F) left Dodge Co, WI with 63_15 (M) on 19 November. She is now in Jasper Co, IN in the same area as 63_15, 12_09, 16_12, and 24_17.

Migration

Wisconsin: As of 1 December, the following birds are still in Wisconsin: 68-15, 38-17, 39-17, 1-17, 2-17, 4-17, 6-17, 8-17, and 14-15. There may be other birds present in the state for which we have not received reports, but most other birds have been confirmed further south.

Illinois: 9-03/3-04 have been seen at their wintering area in Wayne Co. 3-17 and 7-17 are in Fulton Co (see above). 26-17 is on the border of Illinois and Indiana in Wabash Co, IL (see above). 33-16 is in Carroll Co, IL (see above).

Indiana: Jasper Co: 36-17, 71-16, 63-15, 24-17, 12-09, 16-12, 20-15, 4-12 and 3-14. Jackson Co: 5-10/28-08, 41-09. Knox Co: 12-11/5-11, 19-14/12-05, 29-08/W18-15. Gibson Co: 19-09, 25-10. Greene Co: 18-03/36-09, 1-10/W1-06, 12-03/29-09, 4-08/34-09, 9-05/13-03, 3-11/7-11, 32-09/19-10, 38-09, W10-15, 1-04/16-07, 8-04/W3-10, 15-11 (and likely 38-08/10-09), 37-07.

Kentucky: 70-16 is in Knox Co (see above). The following birds are in Hopkins Co: 24/42-09 and W3-17, 2-04/25-09

Tennessee: 29-16/39-16 are in Dyer Co., TN.

Alabama: The following birds have been confirmed at Wheeler NWR in Morgan Co: 17-11, 67-15, 69-16, 1-11/59-13, 13-02/23-10, and 14-08/24-08/W7-17. The group of four 19-17, 25-17, 2-15, and 28-05 are currently in Jackson Co. (see above).

Florida: 72-17 is currently in Hendry Co (see above). 5_12 and 30_16 are in Wakulla Co at St. Mark’s NWR.

Louisiana: 30-17 is currently in Plaquemines Parish (see above)

Mortality

19_11’s remains were found in Juneau Co, WI on 16 November. Cause of death was likely predation. Mate 17_11 completed migration and is currently at Wheeler NWR in Morgan Co, AL, with other Whooping Cranes.

37_17’s remains were found in Juneau Co, WI on 13 November. Mortality was likely due to powerline collision. 36_17 continued south on migration with Sandhill Cranes (see above).

Confirmed Whooping Crane locations as of 1 December 2017.

November 1, 2017 

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month we finished releasing the parent-reared juveniles and some birds have begun fall 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 113 (51 F, 58 M, 4 U). This includes two fledged 2017 wild-hatched chicks (unknown sex), and the eleven released parent-reared juveniles. As of 1 November, most Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Wisconsin, 1 in Michigan, 6 in Illinois, 4 in Indiana, and 1 in Kentucky. Some Whooping Cranes have left Wisconsin by the end of October but have not yet been confirmed further south. See map below.

2017 Wild-hatched chicks

W3_17 is still with its parents (24_09 and 42_09) in Adams Co, WI.

W7_17 is still with its parents (14_08 and 24_08) in Juneau Co, WI.

Parent-Reared 2017 Cohort

19_17 (M) and 25_17 (M) were released in September in Marathon Co, WI near adults 2_15 (F) and 28_05 (F). This group of four is now almost always seen together, still in Marathon Co.

26_17 (F) is still in Marquette Co, and is using some of the same areas as adults 27_14 and 10_11, but isn’t leaving the marsh with them. The area she is using is not visible from any public roads so we cannot confirm associations with the adults. Two other adults, 4_14 and 11_15, were recently seen associating with 26_17.

28_17 (M) has been moving around more than most other juveniles. He was last seen in Marquette Co, 12 miles north of his release site, associating with Sandhill Cranes.

24_17 (M) is still near his release location in Dodge Co, WI. He has not been seen associating with the target adult 66_15 (F), but has been regularly with Sandhill Cranes.

72_17 (M) has moved a bit to the south of his release location, still in Winnebago Co, WI. He did not associate with the target adult (71_16), so another parent-reared juvenile 30_17 (F) was released near him (see below). The two were in the same general area, but have not been regularly associating. 72_17 is often seen with Sandhill Cranes.

30_17 (F) was released on 5 October in the same area as 72_17 (M) (see above). The two juveniles were seen in the same area, but have not been regularly associating (see above). 30_17 is often seen with Sandhill Cranes in Winnebago Co, WI.

38_17 (F) and 39_17 (F) were released on 5 October at Horicon NWR in Dodge Co, WI. 38_17 continues to be in the area, almost always with Sandhill Cranes. She has been observed in the same general area as adults 63_15 and 71_16, but the three have not been seen together. 39_17 has moved a bit north of the release site to Fond du Lac Co, WI.

36_17 (F) and 37_17 (F) were released on 9 October in Marathon Co, WI, near two of last year’s parent-reared cranes 29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M). These four are still in Marathon Co, and are often seen together and with a large group of Sandhill Cranes.

Costume-Reared 2017 Cohort

1_17 (M), 2_17 (F), 3_17 (M), 4_17 (M), 6_17 (F), 7_17 (F), and 8_17 (F) were raised this summer at White River Marsh State Wildlife Areas in Green Lake County, WI. Over the course of the summer, this group became more independent from the costumes and explored more of the marsh. As of 6 October, the doors to the pen were locked and the group was officially released. They have been regularly associating with two older males, 5_12 and 30_16 (one of last year’s parent-reared birds). The group continues to be in the White River Marsh area and has also been seen in the same area as other adults.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) spent all of October in Marathon Co, WI. On 9 October, parent-reared juveniles 36_17 and 37_17 were released near them and the four birds are often seen together (see above).

30_16 (M) is still in Green Lake Co, WI, associating with 5_12 (M). These two have also been regularly associating with the costume-reared cohort at White River Marsh SWA.

31_16 (M) spent all of October in Winnebago and Waushara Counties, WI.

33_16 (F) has been along the Mississippi River either in Clinton Co, IA or Carroll Co, IL.

69_16 (F) left Dane Co, and is now with 20_15 (M) in Walworth Co, WI.

70_16 (M) is still in Knox County, KY.

71_16 (F) moved from in Winnebago Co to Dodge Co, WI. She has not associated with the parent-reared juveniles released near her (see above), but was last seen associating with 63_15 (M) near Horicon NWR.

Mortality
No known mortalities during October.

Confirmed Whooping Crane locations as of 1 November 2017.

October 1, 2017 Project Update

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month we have begun releasing the parent-reared juveniles. 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 101 (42 F, 55 M, 4 U). This includes two fledged 2017 wild-hatched chicks (unknown sex), and the six released parent-reared juveniles. As of 1 October, at least 89 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Wisconsin, 1 in Iowa, 1 in Michigan, and 1 in Kentucky. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during September. See map below.

2017 Wild-hatched chicks

There are currently two wild-hatched chicks alive in Wisconsin, both of which have fledged.

W3_17 is still with its parents in Adams Co, WI.

W7_17 is still with its parents in Juneau Co, WI.

Parent-Reared 2017 Cohort

19_17 (M) and 25_17 (M) were released 14 September in Marathon Co, WI near adults 2_15 (F) and 28_05(F). 19_17 is often seen associating with the adults, and 25_17 has occasionally been seen with the adults. 19_17 has been flying a bit further out than 25_17, but both have been roosting in the same marsh as the adults.

26_17 (F) and 28_17 (M) were released 18 September in Marquette Co, WI near adults 27_14 (F) and 10_11(M). 26_17 has been using some of the same fields as the adults and 28_17 has been exploring a much larger area.

24_17 (M) was released 20 September in Dodge Co, WI near adult 66_15 (F). He has been roosting in the same marsh as 66_15 and has begun exploring the surrounding fields, often with Sandhill Cranes.

72_17 (M) was released 26 September in Winnebago Co, WI near adult 71_16 (F). The two have been seen foraging in the same field, but have not yet been regularly associating. 72_17 has been flying around the area and has also been associating with Sandhill Cranes.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) left Ward County, ND and are currently in Marathon Co, WI.

30_16 (M) is still in Green Lake Co, WI, associating with 5_12 (M). These two have also been seen associating with the captive-reared cohort near the pen at White River Marsh SWA.

31_16 (M) spent all of September in Winnebago and Waushara Counties, WI.

33_16 (F) continues to be in Clinton Co, IA.

69_16 (F) left Jefferson Co, and spent most of September in Dane Co, WI.

70_16 (M) is still in Knox County, KY.

71_16 (F) spent all of September in Winnebago Co, WI. On 26 September, 72_17 was released in the same area as 71_16 (see above).

Mortality

61_15 (F) was found dead on 21 September 2017 in Dodge County, WI. She had likely been dead for a while and the cause of death is unknown. She was last seen in the area on 30 August 2017.

Full extent of Whooping Crane locations as of 1 October 2017.
Zoomed in map of Wisconsin locations of Whooping Cranes as of 1 October 2017.

September 1, 2017 Project Update

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, both surviving wild-hatched chicks have fledged. We are also beginning to plan the releases of this year’s captive-raised cohort. 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 96 (42 F, 50 M, 4 U). This includes two fledged 2017 wild-hatched chicks (unknown sex). As of 1 September, at least 83 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Wisconsin, 1 in Iowa, 2 in North Dakota, 1 in Michigan, and 1 in Kentucky. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during August. See maps below.

2017 Wild-hatched chicks

There are currently two wild-hatched chicks alive in Wisconsin, both of which have fledged.

W3_17 hatched ~4 May to parents 42-09/24-09 in Adams Co, WI. W3_17 has fledged and has been seen flying with its parents.

W7_17 hatched ~30 May to parents 14-08/24-08 in Juneau Co, WI. W7_17 has also fledged and has received its permanent bands and transmitter.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) continue to be in Ward County, ND.

30_16 (M) is still in Green Lake Co, WI.

31_16 (M) spent all of August in Winnebago Co, WI.

33_16 (F) left Day Co, SD and is currently in Clinton Co, IA.

69_16 (F) went south to Walworth Co during August, but then returned to Jefferson Co, WI.

70_16 (M) is still in Knox County, KY.

71_16 (F) spent all of August in Winnebago Co, WI.

Mortality

8_15 (F) was found dead on 24 August 2017 in Fond du Lac County, WI. Mortality was likely due to powerline collision.

Full extent of Whooping Crane locations as of 1 September 2017.

Zoomed in map of Wisconsin locations of Whooping Cranes as of 1 September 2017.


August 1, 2017 Project Update

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, we have been monitoring wild-hatched chicks, and most adults have stayed in their summer locations. One of the wild-hatched chicks has fledged and another is close to fledging. 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 95 (43 F, 50 M, 2 U). This does not include 2017 wild-hatched chicks. As of 1 August, at least 85 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Wisconsin, 1 in South Dakota, 2 in North Dakota, 1 in Michigan, and 1 in Kentucky. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during July. See maps below.

2017 Wild-hatched chicks

There are currently two wild-hatched chicks alive in Wisconsin. Chicks in bold are currently alive.

W3_17 hatched ~4 May to parents 42-09/24-09 in Adams Co, WI. W3_17 has fledged and has been seen flying with its parents.

W7_17 hatched ~30 May to parents 14-08/24-08 in Juneau Co, WI.

W11_17 hatched ~2 June to parents 1-10/W1-06 in Juneau Co, WI. The remains of W11_17 were collected on 17 July. Cause of death is unknown.

W13_17 hatched ~5 June to parents 29-09/12-03 in Juneau Co, WI. The remains of W13_17 were collected on 29 July. Cause of death is unknown.

W14_17 hatched ~5 June to parents 9-03/3-04 in Juneau Co, WI. The remains of W14_17 were collected on 17 July. Initial assessment indicates probably predation by a small to medium-sized mammal.

W15_17 hatched ~7 June to parents 37-07/20-14 in Juneau Co, WI. W15_17’s mother 20_14 (F) was found dead on 3 July (see below). The chick was seen with father 37_07 until it was found dead ~9 July. Cause of death unknown.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) spent all of July in Ward County, North Dakota.

30_16 (M) is still in Green Lake Co, WI with 5_12 (M).

31_16 (M) spent all of July in Winnebago Co, WI.

33_16 (F) moved from Murray Co, MN to Day Co, SD, where she is currently.

69_16 (F) moved from Fond du Lac County, WI down to Jefferson Co, WI. She also has separated from 65_15 (F).

70_16 (M) is still in Knox County, KY.

71_16 (F) spent all of July in Winnebago Co, WI.

Mortality

20_14 (F) was found dead on 3 July 2017 at Necedah NWR. Predation is the suspected cause of mortality.

20_14’s chick (W15_17) was seen with mate 37_07 after 20_14’s death, but was then also lost likely to predation (see above).

16_02 (M) was last seen on 21 July 2017. His carcass was recovered on 28 July 2017. The cause of death remains unknown, but there may be some indication of predation.

Full extent of Whooping Crane locations as of 1 August 2017.

Zoomed in map of Wisconsin locations of Whooping Cranes as of 1 August 2017.


July 1, 2017 Project Update

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, nesting season has come to an end. 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 97 (44 F, 51 M, 2 U). This does not include 2017 wild-hatched chicks. As of 1 July, at least 84 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Wisconsin, 1 in Minnesota, 2 in North Dakota, 1 in Michigan, and 1 in Kentucky. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during June. See maps below.

Reproduction

This year, there were 37 confirmed nests by 26 pairs in Juneau, Adams, Marathon, St. Croix, and Green Lake counties, Wisconsin. Eighteen chicks have hatched from four first nests and ten re-nests. Six wild-hatched chicks are still alive as of 1 July.

2017 Wild-hatched chicks

Chicks in bold are currently alive.

W1-17 hatched ~30 April to parents 5-11/12-11 in Juneau Co, WI and was last seen on 7 June.

W3-17 hatched ~4 May to parents 42-09/24-09 in Adams Co, WI.

W5-17 hatched ~8 May to parents 7-11/3-11 in Adams Co, WI. The adults were seen without the chick on 8 June.

W6-17 hatched ~23 May from a re-nest of parents 36-09/18-03 in Juneau Co, WI.

W6-17’s carcass was recovered on 12 June and we suspect predation was the cause of death.

W7-17 hatched ~30 May to parents 14-08/24-08 in Juneau Co, WI.

W8-17 hatched ~30 May to parents 14-08/24-08 in Juneau Co, WI and was last seen ~14 June.

W9-17 hatched ~30 May to parents 8-04/W3-10 in Juneau Co, WI and was last seen ~13 June.

W10-17 hatched ~30 May to parents 8-04/W3-10 in Juneau Co, WI. Its carcass was recovered 11 June and we suspect predation was the cause of death.

W11-17 hatched ~2 June to parents 1-10/W1-06 in Juneau Co, WI.

W12-17 hatched ~5 June to parents 9-05/13-03 in Juneau Co, WI. Its carcass was recovered 21 June and we suspect predation was the cause of death.

W13-17 hatched ~5 June to parents 29-09/12-03 in Juneau Co, WI.

W14-17 hatched ~5 June to parents 9-03/3-04 in Juneau Co, WI.

W15-17 hatched ~7 June to parents 37-07/20-14 in Juneau Co, WI.

W16-17 hatched ~15 June to parents 2-04/25-09 in Juneau Co, WI. Its carcass was recovered 25 June.

W17-17 hatched ~15 June to parents 2-04/25-09 in Juneau Co, WI. Its carcass was recovered on on 26 June.

W18-17 hatched ~15 June to parents 10-09/17-07 in Juneau Co, WI and was last seen on 22 June.

Parent-Reared 2016

Cohort 29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) spent all of June in Ward County, North Dakota.

30_16 (M) continued to be in in Green Lake Co, WI with 5_12 (M).

31_16 (M) spent the beginning of June in Stephenson Co, IL until he moved to Winnebago Co, WI mid-month.

33_16 (F) spent most of June in Iowa before moving north to Murray Co, MN.

69_16 (F) spent all of June with 65_15 (F) in Fond du Lac County, WI.

70_16 (M) spent all of June in Knox County, KY.

71_16 (F) moved from Walworth Co, to Winnebago Co, WI.

 

Full extent of Whooping Crane locations as of 1 July 2017.

Zoomed in map of Wisconsin locations of Whooping Cranes as of 1 July 2017.


June 1, 2017 Project Update

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, wild chicks have started to hatch! 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 97 (44 F, 51 M, 2 U). This does not include 2017 wild-hatched chicks. As of 1 June, at least 84 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Wisconsin, 2 in Illinois, 1 in Iowa, 2 in North Dakota, and 1 in Kentucky. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during May. See maps below.

Reproduction

To date there have been 37 confirmed nests by 26 pairs in Juneau, Adams, Marathon, St. Croix, and Green Lake counties, Wisconsin. There are currently two active first nests and eight active re-nests. Six chicks have hatched from four first nests and one re-nest. Four chicks are still alive as of 1 June.

Active first nests: 20-14/37-07 Juneau Co, and possibly 2-15/28-05* Marathon Co (28-05 thought to be female may actually be male, the two were seen unison calling)

Active re-nests: 9-03/3-04, W1-06/1-10, 13-03/9-05, 12-03/29-09, W3-10/8-04, 24-08/14-08, 25-09/2-04, 17-07/10-09 all in Juneau Co

Incubated full term: 34-09/4-08 Juneau Co

Failed nests during May: 59-13/1-11 re-nest St. Croix Co, 3-14/4-12 Green Lake Co predated by coyote, 32-09/7-07 re-nest Juneau Co, 6-15/38-09 Juneau Co

2017 Wild-hatched chicks

Chicks in bold are currently alive.

W1-17 hatched ~30 April to parents 5-11/12-11 in Juneau Co, WI

W2-17 hatched ~30 April to parents 5-11/12-11 in Juneau Co, WI. As of 8 May, only one chick confirmed with this family. Possible predation by raptor.

W3-17 hatched ~4 May to parents 42-09/24-09 in Adams Co, WI.

W4-17 hatched ~8 May to parents 5-10/28-08 in Marathon Co, WI. Last seen on 25 May and not seen on 30 May. Cause of death is unknown.

W5-17 hatched ~8 May to parents 7-11/3-11 in Adams Co, WI.

W6-17 hatched ~23 May from a re-nest of parents 36-09/18-03 in Juneau Co, WI.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) spent part of May in Chippewa County, WI but then moved to Ward County, North Dakota.

30_16 (M) spent all of May in Green Lake Co, WI. He was last seen associating with 5_12 (M).

31_16 (M) spent all of May in Stephenson Co, IL.

33_16 (F) spent most of May in Dane Co, WI, but as of 1 June was in Dubuque Co, IA.

71_16 (F) moved from Grant Co to Walworth Co, WI.

70_16 (M) spent most of May in Hardin County, TN but by the end of the month had moved to Knox County, KY.

69_16 (F) spent all of May with 65_15 (F). These two continued to move around and made a trip to Iowa before returning to Fond du Lac County, WI.

Mortality

18-02 (F) was last seen 8 May with mate 13-02. As of 12 May she has not been seen and her mate has been seen alone. She is now presumed dead.

27-06 (M) was found dead on 18 May in Juneau Co. In the previous days he was exhibiting unusual behaviors, suggesting some kind of illness, but the proximate cause of death was predation. His remains were sent to the National Wildlife Health Center for further testing.

Full extent of Whooping Crane locations as of 1 June 2017.
Zoomed in map of midwestern locations of Whooping Cranes as of 1 June 2017.

May 1, 2017 Project Update

Here is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, breeding Whooping Cranes have begun nesting.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 99 (45 F, 52 M, 2 U). As of 1 May, at least 86 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Wisconsin, 1 in Illinois, and 1 in Tennessee. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during April.

Reproduction

To date there have been 24 confirmed nests by 23 pairs in Juneau, Adams, Marathon, St. Croix, and Green Lake counties, Wisconsin. This year marks the first nest of a parent-reared Whooping Crane in the EMP as well as the first nest in the Eastern Rectangle. There are currently five active first nests and two active re-nests. One of these nests may have hatched 30 April, but it has yet to be confirmed. Four nests failed naturally, and eggs from 13 nests were collected as a part of the forced re-nesting experiment. Chicks hatched from these eggs will be released into the Eastern Migratory Population in the fall of 2017. We expect re-nesting by pairs whose first nests failed to begin during May.

Active first nests: 24-09/42-09 Adams Co, 3-11/7-11 Adams Co, 5-10/28-08 Marathon Co, 34-09/4-08 Juneau Co, 4-12/3-14 Green Lake Co, 12-11/5-11 Juneau Co (possibly hatched)

Active re-nests: 36-09/18-03 Juneau Co.

Failed nests: 59-13/1-11 St. Croix Co, 19-14/12-05 Juneau Co, 36-09/18-03 Juneau Co, and 24-08/14-08 Juneau Co

Eggs collected, Forced Re-nest all in Juneau Co: 13-03/9-05, W1-06/1-10, 12-03/29-09, 32-09/7-07, 18-02/13-02, 9-03/3-04, 25-09/2-04, 26-09/27-06, 17-11/19-11, 16-07/1-04, 10-10/41-09, 17-07/10-09, W3-10/8-04

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) migrated north to Wisconsin and are currently in Chippewa County, WI.

30_16 (M) spent all of April in Green Lake Co, WI. He was last seen associating with 5_12 (M).

31_16 (M) left Arkansas and migrated north to Stephenson Co, IL, where he is currently.

33_16 (F) left Florida and spent part of April in Carroll County, IL. By the end of the month she was in Dane Co, WI.

71_16 (F) spent all of April in Grant Co, WI.

70_16 (M) left Wheeler NWR, AL during April and flew north to Hardin County, TN. He has made a couple of short trips but is still spending most of his time in Hardin County.

69_16 (F) spent all of April associating with 65_15 (F). These two have been moving around during April and even made a trip south to northwestern Indiana. They are currently in Fond du Lac County, WI.

Mortality

There were no mortalities confirmed during April.


Whooping Crane Update – April 1, 2017

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. During February, most Whooping Cranes began migration and at least one has returned to 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 99 (45 F, 52 M, 2 U). As of 1 April, most Whooping Cranes have completed migration and are in Wisconsin. However, a few have not yet migrated and are in Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida. See map below. A few breeding pairs have begun nest building and a nesting update will be in next month’s report.

2015 Wild Chicks

W10_15 has returned to Wisconsin and was seen alone at Necedah NWR in Juneau County.

W18_15 and male 16-04 have returned to Wisconsin and were seen at Necedah NWR by the end of March.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) has returned to Wisconsin and is currently in Juneau County.

20_15 (M) left Saint Martin Parish, LA by 18 March, and has returned to Wisconsin. He is currently in Adams County, WI.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) continue to be in Randolph Co, IL.

65_15 (F) was in Will County, IL as of 22 March.

66_15 (F) and 68_15 (F) were last reported in LaPorte County, IN, but have likely moved north.

UL 2015 Cohort

2_15 (F) left Jasper Co, IN and was with female 28_05 in Marathon County, WI by 19 March.

6_15 (F) and 38-09 left Greene Co, IN and are currently in Juneau County, WI.

8_15 (F) spent all of March in Sumter Co, AL.

10_15 (F), and (presumably) 11_15 (M) left Lasalle Co, IL and migrated to Wisconsin by 26 March, and are currently in Green Lake County.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) spent all of March in Dyer Co, TN.

30_16 (M) was with 4_12 and 3_14 in Miller Co, GA in March, but by 24 March had returned to Wisconsin and was seen in Green Lake County.

31_16 (M) and 38_16 (M) spent March in Poinsett Co, Arkansas. 38_16 was found dead (see below), but 31_16 continues to be in the area.

33_16 (F) spent all of March in Citrus Co, FL.

69_16 (F) left Indiana during March and spent some time in Will County, IL. On 22 March, she left Will County and migrated back to Wisconsin. She spent a little time in Sauk County, before heading to her current location in Wood County, WI.

70_16 (M) is still at Wheeler NWR, AL, associating with Sandhill Cranes.

71_16 (F) left Jasper Co, IN on 22 March, and headed north to Wisconsin, where she was last reported in Grant County.

Mortality

38_16 (M) was in Poinsett County, AR with 31_16 (M), and was found dead on 8 March, likely due to vehicle collision.

8_14 (F) left St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refute with mate 4_13 on 6 March. PTT hits put her in Lowndes County, GA on the same day. Her remains were collected on 26 March and the cause of death is not yet determined.


Whooping Crane Update – March 1, 2017 

Here is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes.

During February, most Whooping Cranes began migration and at least one has returned to 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 101 (46 F, 53 M, 2 U). As of 1 March, Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Wisconsin. Many birds have begun moving north by the end of February, so the distribution is changing daily. See map below

2015 Wild Chicks

W10_15 and 24_13 were in Greene County, IN during February

W18_15 and male 16-04 were reported in Knox Co, IN during February.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) left Wheeler NWR and is currently in Jasper Co, Indiana.

20_15 (M) spent all of February in Saint Martin Parish, LA.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) continue to be in Randolph Co, IL.

65_15 (F) and 27_14 (F) have left Wheeler NWR, and have begun migration.

66_15 (F) and 68_15 (F) began migration north and were both reported in LaPorte County, IN.

UL 2015 Cohort

2_15 (F) left on migration and was in Jasper Co, IN in the same area as 71_16 by the end of February.

6_15 (F) and 38-09 left Wheeler NWR, and are currently in Greene Co, IN.

8_15 (F) spent all of February in Sumter Co, AL.

10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) left Wheeler NWR, AL and began migration north. They were seen in Lasalle Co, IL by the end of February with one other Whooping Crane who could not be identified.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) spent all of February in Dyer Co, TN.

30_16 (M) is with 4_12 and 3_14 in Miller Co, GA.

31_16 (M) and 38_16 (M) spent February in Poinsett Co, Arkansas.

33_16 (F) spent all of February in Citrus Co, FL.

69_16 (F) left Wheeler NWR presumably with 1_11 and 59_13, and is currently in northwestern Indiana.

70_16 (M) is still at Wheeler NWR, AL.

71_16 (F) left Jackson Co, IN and headed north to Jasper Co, IN. She is in the same vicinity as 2_15.

Long-term missing

There were no reported mortalities during February, but 26-10 and 19-05 are long-term missing and are now removed from the population totals above.

 


Whooping Crane Update – February 1, 2017 

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. During January, most Whooping Cranes stayed at their wintering areas and few moved short distances. 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 103 (47 F, 54 M, 2 U). As of 1 February, at least 30 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Indiana, 3 in Illinois, 7 in Kentucky, 2 in Arkansas, 10 in Tennessee, 27 in Alabama, 6 in Florida, 5 in Georgia, and 1 in Louisiana. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during January. See map below.

2015 Wild Chicks

W10_15 and 24_13 was in Greene County, Indiana with a large group of Whooping Cranes.

W18_15 and male 16-04 were reported in Knox Co, IN during January.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) is at Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

20_15 (M) spent all of January in Saint Martin Parish, LA.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) continue to be in Randolph Co, IL.

65_15 (F) and 27_14 (F) are at Wheeler NWR, in Morgan Co, Alabama.

66_15 (F) was last reported in the end of December in Rhea Co, TN. It’s possible she is still in the area and is a spot that is difficult to get a radio signal.

68_15 (F) spent January in Rhea or Meigs Co, TN.

UL 2015 Cohort

2_15 (F) spent most of January in Thomas Co, GA, but arrived at St. Mark’s NWR in Wakulla Co, FL by the end of the month.

6_15 (F) spent January with 38-09 at Wheeler NWR in Morgan Co, AL.

8_15 (F) spent January in Sumter Co, AL.

10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) also continue to be at Wheeler NWR, AL.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) spent all of January in Dyer Co, TN.

30_16 (M) is with 4_12 and 3_14 in Seminole Co, GA.

31_16 (M) and 38_16 (M) left Kentucky on 7 January and went to Poinsett Co, Arkansas, where they spent the rest of the month.

33_16 (F) spent all of January in Citrus Co, FL.

71_16 (F) is still in Jackson Co, IN.

70_16 (M) is still at Wheeler NWR, AL. He doesn’t consistently spend time with the same adult Whooping Cranes but has been seen associating with 18_11 and 14_15.

69_16 (F) continues to associate with 1_11 and 59_13 at Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

Mortality

4_11 (F) was found dead on 3 January at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene Co, IN. It was confirmed she had been shot, but authorities have not identified the person responsible. There is a reward out for information about the crime.


Whooping Crane Update – January 1, 2017 

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 104 (48 F, 54 M, 2 U). As of 1 January, at least 35 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Indiana, 3 in Illinois, 6 in Kentucky, 7 in Tennessee, 28 in Alabama, 5 in Florida, 4 in Georgia, and 1 in Louisiana. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during December. See map below.

2015 Wild Chicks
W10_15 and 24_13 spent December in Greene County, Indiana with a large group of Whooping Cranes.

W18_15 and male 16-04 were reported in Knox Co, Indiana during December.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) spent all of December at Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

20_15 (M) spent the beginning of December in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, then moved back to Saint Martin Parish, where he wintered last year.

DAR 2015 Cohort

62_15 (M) was found dead on 18 December in Randolph Co, IL (see below). Around the same time, 61_15 (F) and 67_15 (F) went south into southwestern Missouri and western Tennessee, before returning to Randolph Co, Illinois by 23 December. During this time, 63_15 (M) stayed by himself in Randolph Co. By the end of the month, the three remaining cranes from this group were together again on their wintering grounds.

65_15 (F) and 27_14 (F) spent most of December at Wheeler NWR, Alabama.

66_15 (F) and 68_15 (F) have been reported in Rhea or Meigs Co, Tennessee throughout December but are not together.

UL 2015 Cohort

2_15 (F) left on migration between 6 and 11 December and went to Wakulla Co, Florida. She then moved back north to Thomas Co, Georgia by the end of the month.

6_15 (F) spent early December in Greene County, Indiana associating with 38-09. The two then moved to Wheeler NWR in Morgan Co, Alabama by the end of December.

8_15 (F) left on migration on 8 December and by the end of the month was in Sumter Co, Alabama.

10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) spent most of December at Wheeler NWR, Alabama.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort
29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) left Wisconsin on 8 December likely migrating with Sandhill Cranes. By 11 December they made it to Dyer Co, TN, where they spent the rest of the month.

30_16 (M) left on migration with 4_12 and 3_14 on 8 December and made it to Floyd Co, GA by 11 December.

31_16 (M) and 38_16 (M) left on migration on 8 December and spent the rest of the month in Crittenden Co, KY.

33_16 (F) migrated to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Meigs County, TN, and by the end of December was in Citrus Co, FL.

71_16 (F) left on migration with Sandhill Cranes on 8 December. She is currently in Jackson Co, IN.

70_16 (M) was released in Marathon Co during November. He moved to Portage Co, WI, where on 12 December he was captured for translocation to Alabama. He was released at Wheeler NWR on 14 December and has been associating with 69-16 as well as adult Whooping Cranes present on the refuge.

69_16 (F) spent all of December associating with 1_11 and 59_13 at Wheeler NWR in Alabama. She also began associating with 70_16 after his translocation to Wheeler.

Migration

Indiana: The following cranes have been confirmed in Greene County in December: 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), 8_04, W3_10, 10_09, 17_07, 13_03, 9_05, 29_08, 4_11, and 19_10.  12_09, 10_11, 19_09, 25_10, 16_02, and 16_07 were reported in Gibson County, IN. W18_15 (see above), 16_04, 19_14, and 12_05 were reported in Knox County, IN. 10_10, 41_09, and 71_16 were in Jackson County, IN. 28_05 was reported in the beginning of the month in Jasper Co.

Illinois: Three 2015 DAR birds (61-15, 63-15, 67-15) are in Randolph County, IL (see above).

Kentucky: 2_04 and 25_09, 24_09 and 42_09, are in Hopkins Co. 31-16 and 38-16 are in Crittenden Co.

Tennessee: 68_15 and 66_15 have been confirmed in Rhea or Meigs Counties (see above). 5_10, 28_08, and 14_12 were also confirmed in Rhea/Meigs Counties during December. 29_16 and 39_16 are in Dyer Co (see above).

Alabama: During December, the following Whooping Cranes were confirmed at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge: 69_16 (see above), 14_15 (see above), 10_15 (see above), 11_15 (see above), 70_16 (see above), 1_11, 59_13, 18_11, 15_11, 38_08, 5_11, 12_11, 14_08, 24_08, 1_04, 27_06, 26_09, 27_14, 65_15 (see above), 6_15 (see above), 38_09, 9_03, 3_04, 13_02, and 18_02. In the end of December, 8_15 was in Sumter Co, AL (see above). 20-14 and 37-07 have been confirmed at their wintering area in Jackson Co, AL.

Florida: 8_14 and 4_13, 5-12, 4-14 at St. Marks. 33-16 is in Citrus Co (see above).

Georgia: 4_12, 3_14, and 30_16 are in Floyd Co, GA (see above). 2_15 is in Thomas Co, GA (see above).

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

Mortality

62_15 (M) was found dead on 18 December likely due to powerline collision in Randolph County, IL.

Map of whooping crane locations in eastern United States.