Wild Whooping Crane Chick Hatches in Wisconsin!

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) is celebrating another success in its efforts to reintroduce a wild migratory whooping crane population in eastern North America. A whooping crane chick hatched yesterday in Marathon County, Wis.

The chick, #W1-13 (W = wild hatched), is the offspring of the whooping crane pair consisting of a female #5-10 and male #28-08 from the ultralight-guided crane Classes of 2010 and 2008.

The pair nested in 2012 in Marathon County, Wis., however, after incubating past the anticipated hatch date, it was determined their single egg was infertile. This was likely  because the female was only two years old and had not yet reached breeding maturity.

This spring they nested again – this time producing two eggs – one of which hatched on May 21. WCEP is hopeful the second egg will hatch very soon.

“After losing 19 of 20 nests earlier this month, I was able to confirm yesterday that our single remaining nest has at least one chick,” said Eva Szyszkoski, Tracking Field Manager for WCEP and the International Crane Foundation. “During my morning survey flight on May 21, one crane was sitting on the nest in a brooding posture while the other preened nearby. Later that afternoon, one crane was still brooding while the other was off foraging in the wetland to the southeast of the nest. As the plane circled, I was able to get a visual on the tiny chick before it ducked back under the adult. The adult cranes produced two eggs this year, so hopefully we will have a little #W2-13 shortly.”

Whooping crane nest with egg and chick

W1-13 still on the nest with Mom or Dad and its sibling egg, which may or may not hatch

Thanks to the efforts of WCEP, there are now 106 whooping cranes in the eastern migratory population.  In addition to #5-10 and #28-08, at least three pairs are currently constructing nest platforms for what WCEP hopes will be re-nest attempts following the early May abandonment event in the core nesting area.

Including #W1-13, twenty-five chicks have hatched in this population since 2006.  Five of them have fledged and joined the wild population.

WCEP partners would like to thank Lighthawk, Windway Aviation and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for providing aircraft and pilots for aerial surveys.

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10 Comments

  1. Nancy Froio May 23, 2013 8:43 am

    So happy to hear the good news! Welcome precious baby! Whoop, Whoop!!

  2. Ruth Mitchell May 23, 2013 6:54 am

    Such wonderful news!!! Prayers for their health and safety!!!

  3. Margie Tomlinson May 22, 2013 10:38 pm

    More delightful news! Welcome #W1-13!, and I hope soon we will have #W2-13. Congratulations #5-10* & #28-08! You did a great job! It’s time to “Give A Whoop”. Thank you, too, to Lighthawk for their great flying surveys.

  4. Carol Rogers May 22, 2013 9:30 pm

    That is such wonderful news! GOOD LUCK little one! STAY SAFE:-)

  5. Karen Anne May 22, 2013 8:18 pm

    What’s the likelihood that blackflies will drive the parents to abandon this chick, or that the blackflies will harm it?

    • Heather Ray May 23, 2013 4:50 am

      This nest is ~45 miles north of the core nesting area and out of black fly range.

      • M-Sue Walsh aka MSWcrane May 23, 2013 10:03 am

        Well that is another confirmation (for the doubters) that black flies do play a huge part in nesting failures, like most of us didn’t already know that 🙁

      • Karen Anne May 24, 2013 12:19 pm

        Just imagine if even a third of those abandoned nests this year had produced chicks.

        • Heather Ray May 25, 2013 7:05 am

          Actually, they did Karen. The eggs that were collected are providing chicks for the various reintroductions 🙂

  6. M-Sue Walsh May 22, 2013 6:00 pm

    Whoop, Whoop Hooray for Chick W1-13. Congrats to parents 5-10 & 28-08!