By the Numbers

As we reported late afternoon Saturday, six of the Class of 2013 Whooping cranes were photographed that day when they landed at the north end of the White River Marsh training site in Green Lake County, Wisconsin. The group includes: 2-13, 4-13, 5-13, 7-13, 8-13 & 9-13.

The original group of eight departed their St. Marks NWR winter site on March 31st. They were not seen by anyone until reaching Daviess County, Kentucky but information gathered from the four cranes wearing PTT tracking units tells us they made at least one stop in Barbour County, Alabama and spent a couple of days at this location.

Their next stop was Daviess County, Kentucky where storms and headwinds kept them grounded for a week. Sadly, this is where the remains of young female Whooping crane 1-13 were found. An OM supporter, Nancy and her husband Hayden checked on them almost daily and only ever saw six cranes, which leads me to believe it was soon after arriving that something happened to number 1-13. It also means that the other missing crane, number 3-13 likely split off from the group before this.

When the weather finally allowed them to leave the group apparently made a beeline for McHenry County, Illinois where they spent two days before making a short hop into Wisconsin’s Walworth County where a spring snow storm and winds kept them grounded for another 5 days.

As I mentioned in Saturday’s report, we received a good quality PTT hit that placed number 2-13 north of Berlin, Wisconsin at roost time on Friday evening, so technically, they arrived home on day 18. Pretty impressive!

The following grab from Google Earth shows our southward stops as green or yellow place markers (green are the locations we stopped at. Yellow were stops we were able to skip). The red line, slightly east of our route is the path the cranes took on the way home with the yellow pushpins marking their migration stops. While it obvious they didn’t follow the exact migration, they sure were close for the entire way!

Whooping crane migration route

Class of 2013 south and north migration path.

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  1. Henry April 22, 2014 9:09 pm

    yay, good job class of 13! Thankyou for your interest in this fascinating species OM.

  2. Margie Tomlinson April 22, 2014 1:32 pm

    Thanks so much for the map and the photos of our Whoopers back at home on the grass runway! In my book, they are the “Super 6/7”!

  3. Gums April 21, 2014 6:29 pm


    To be honest, a 75% return rate is decent.

    Sad that we need more females, but that’s the way it turned out.

    At least the Louisiana project is showing that the inserted birds can result in eggs and possibly chicks. Not migratory, but plenty of good habitat and such.

    Looking forward to more updates.

  4. Nancy E. (sandtrap1) April 21, 2014 12:24 pm

    Super Whooper babies!

  5. Reta April 21, 2014 9:44 am

    The tracking data gathered is fascinating and to see history being made as we watch. Thank you OM Team.


  6. Kay April 21, 2014 9:43 am

    Wonderful report! Great to have the map.

    I am very concerned about #3-13. As I recall, he was one of two not crated at one point. I’m hoping he is following the trike route and will arrive soon.

    Any chance of grapes for the heroic six? I know they’re supposed to be on their own now, but, gee whiz, it would be nice for them to know that they are deeply appreciated.

  7. Sally Swanson April 21, 2014 8:42 am

    This graphic really helps! Thanks! We are glad they are home and hope that 3-13 is doing OK!


  8. Bobbie April 21, 2014 8:33 am

    Looks like they did make a beeline! WOW! Thank you so much for the information!

  9. Karen Anne April 21, 2014 7:30 am

    What are the population stats now for the Eastern migratory population – number, gender, years – is that known?

  10. geri buffington April 21, 2014 6:55 am