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Whooping Crane Update

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 isnít 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 yearís 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 yearís 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.


No known mortalities during October.


Location of the Eastern Migratory Population of whooping cranes, Nov. 1, 2017.





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