EMP Whooping Crane Update

For period of 2 May – 15 June 2013
Report prepared by Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Maximum size of the eastern migratory population at the end of the report period was 104 birds (55 males and 49 females). This total does not include one wild-hatched chick. Estimated distribution at the end of the report period or last record included 97 whooping cranes in Wisconsin, 1 in Michigan, 1 in Indiana, 3 not recently reported, and 2 long term missing.  Female no. 3-10 who has been missing since February of 2012 is now considered dead and is not included in the population totals above. An unidentified whooping crane was reported in Lenawee County, Michigan, on 14 June.

map indicates the last known location of the Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population. This map does not include birds that have not been reported for over one month or that are long term missing.

map indicates the last known location of the Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population. This map does not include birds that have not been reported for over one month or that are long term missing.

Mortality

The heavily scavenged carcass of female no. 37-09 was collected on her summering territory in Juneau County, Wisconsin, on 12 May. Based on tracking data, death occurred on 8/9 May. Her remains were sent to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison for necropsy.

Injury

Male no. 1-01 was reported with an injury to his right eye on 14 June, however it appears that he has improved since the initial observation.

2012 Cohort

Direct Autumn Release (DAR)

No. 13-12 remained in Dane County, Wisconsin, throughout the report period.

No. 14-12 was reported in Allegan County, Michigan, through at least 1 May. He then moved south into LaPorte County, Indiana, by 2 June and remained in the area through at least last report on 7 June.

No. 15-12 was reported possibly leaving on migration with sandhill cranes from Hendry County, Florida, in late February or early March. No subsequent reports.

No. 16-12 remained in Dodge County, Wisconsin, throughout the report period.

Ultralight (UL)

Nos. 4-12 and 5-12 left Sauk County, Wisconsin, between 25-27 April. They were found in Dane County on 12 May and had moved to Green Lake County by 7 June.

No. 7-12 remained in Sauk County, Wisconsin, through at least 18 May. She was not detected in the area on 31 May. She was found in Marquette County, on 1 June where she remained through at least 12 June. Her previous foot/leg injury has healed.

No. 11-12 left the St. Marks NWR pensite in Wakulla County, Florida, on 9 February.  No subsequent reports.

Long Term Missing

Female no. 3-10 was last detected on her wintering grounds in Marion County, Florida, on 22 February 2012. She is now considered dead and is no longer included in the population totals above.

Male no. 12-07 was last observed on the Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on 25 April 2012. He has a nonfunctional transmitter and cannot be tracked.

Female no. 16-10 was last observed with sandhill cranes in Ottawa County, Michigan, on 6 May 2012.

This update is a product of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.  To access our previous project updates and additional information on the project visit our web site at http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/.

We thank pilots Bev Paulan and Mike Callahan (Wisconsin DNR); LightHawk (www.lighthawk.org) and pilots Jamie Gamble, Bob Keller and Pat Healy; Windway Aviation Inc; and pilots Tim Barzen, Bill Murphy, and Jerry Burns for aerial tracking assistance.

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3 Comments

  1. Margie Tomlinson June 25, 2013 5:24 pm

    Always glad to get an update on our birdies! Thank you to all who helped to put the report together and pass it along to us.

  2. Karen Anne June 25, 2013 6:05 am

    How is it decided when to declare a missing whooping crane dead? Is there a fixed time period with no observations?

    • Heather Ray June 25, 2013 11:44 am

      Karen in response to your question, I reached out to Eva Szyszkoski. Eva says “It depends on the bird. For example… a bird who is routinely seen and summers in Wisconsin with a working transmitter will generally be taken off of the list sooner than a bird who is not regularly seen and either summers in a remote area of Wisconsin or another state and/or does not have a working transmitter.”