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Whooping Crane Update

August 1, 2017 


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.



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.

Map of whooping crane locations.




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


Map of whooping crane locations in Wisconsin.





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