Fragile Shipment

15 Whooping Crane eggs were recently collected from nests located on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and transferred to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

But why you ask? It’s all part of the forced renesting study, currently in its second year on the Refuge and designed to increase hatch rate and flock numbers.

Researchers have determined second nests have had a higher full term incubation rate (54% versus 18%), hatching rate (39% versus 11%) and fledge rate (21% versus 0.1%).

Salvaging eggs from early nests may increase the probability of renesting above 25% and, in turn, increase reproductive success.

Of the 15 eggs transferred, 14 were determined fertile and have been shipped to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland for continued incubation. Once they hatch, the new fluffy crane chicks will become participants in either the Eastern Migratory Population’s aircraft release method, or be transferred to Louisiana for release later this year in the non-migratory population.

To learn more about the forced renesting study visit this link.

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  1. lilbirdz May 1, 2015 1:40 pm

    Did the whoopers whose eggs were taken produce more eggs? I remember something about substituting sandhill eggs, but I don’t know where I read it. Will OM get all of the 14 that hatch?

  2. Warrenwesternpa April 30, 2015 7:03 pm

    Fragile Shipment Heather Ray

    Whoop, Whoop, Hurrah! 🙂

  3. Janice bittner April 30, 2015 6:17 pm

    I am disappointed that they have taken this many eggs from the nesting cranes. I can see taking one egg if there are 2 as raising twins is rare. Isn’t the second /incubation/hatch when there are problems with the black flies? Letting cranes incubate the first clutch would prevent this problem.


  4. Bikebrains April 30, 2015 3:08 pm

    Please reconsider sending the chicks to Louisiana due to the number of birds that have been shot.

  5. Kay April 30, 2015 10:56 am

    Thanks, Heather!

    As I recall, the allocation of eggs is a well-discussed topics by the decision-makers in the whooping crane world. I was hoping that the article implied that OM would receive a larger number of chicks this year, if DAR were no longer in the loop.

    My personal conclusion from amateurish observations is that both pre-teen and teenage orphaned whooping cranes thrive to adulthood when a responsible parent surrogate (whether human or bird at one time or another) adopts them during the totality of their first year.

    I’ll be interested to see what the experts have to say on this subject. For instance, do most parent-raised whoopers hang out with their parents for the first year? Shorter/longer? When young orphaned birds seemed confused or died, were surrogate parents right there, trying to guide them?

  6. Betsy April 30, 2015 9:18 am

    Congrats to the team!

  7. Kay April 30, 2015 9:17 am

    It would be super if they joined OM’s hearty little migration cohort!

    Reading between the lines, does this mean that DAR will not be tried this year?

    • Heather Ray April 30, 2015 10:10 am

      It certainly does not mean that. The DAR eggs/chicks are produced at the International Crane Foundation. I was simply letting folks know how many eggs had been transferred to Patuxent.

  8. Bonnie April 30, 2015 7:08 am

    Oh Boy!
    Thank you.

  9. Patti April 30, 2015 6:27 am

    14!! Awesome 🙂 Congrats Patuxent! Here’s to 14 new Whooping crane chicks soon 🙂