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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.



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.