Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership logo
Non-profit organizations, individuals and government agencies joining forces to bring a migratory population of whooping cranes back to eastern North America


Operation Migration Crane Camera logo



Whooping Crane Reporting Website logo


Visit with us!


Facebook logo


Flickr icon


YouTube Icon


Twitter Icon




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.



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.



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.





Project Updates