A Whoophill Called “Whoopsie”

WCEP has confirmed the first wild hatched crane chick in the Wisconsin Rectangle area – unfortunately, it’s not a Whooping crane… well, half of it is. The other half is a Sandhill crane.

The happy family consists of male DAR #16-11 and a pretty little Sandhill crane Mom, and their fuzzy orange hybrid chick, aptly named ‘Whoopsie.’ (Photos below)

This isn’t the first time a hybrid crane chick has been documented. In 1992 a Whoophill was produced when a Whooping crane from the Grays Lake Whooping crane reintroduction paired up with a Sandhill crane. (See 1992 press release)

Visit the International Crane Foundation to read more about this unlikely pair.

Many thanks to Naomi Steinruck for the great photos! (click photos to enlarge)

Sandhill crane (Mom) and Whooping crane (Dad) with their hybrid crane chick at Horicon NWR.

Sandhill crane (Mom) and Whooping crane (Dad) with their hybrid crane chick at Horicon NWR.



It would appear that Dad is very attentive to the young chick

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  1. Harold Cutler June 17, 2015 1:30 am

    Also, if the bird mates and is sterile: solution: drop an egg from another pair in the nest, they raise it, everybody migrates, it’s all good.

  2. Harold Cutler June 17, 2015 1:27 am

    “If” the chick is fertile, this is NOT a bad thing. There are 20,000 + or – Sandhills who are very genetically diverse. If the little one breeds with the whoopers, that will widen their genetic roadblock. Over time the “grandkids” will be, tall, white whoopers (if s/he picks a whooper as a mate) with some unique strands of DNA. This is known to happen in songbirds as well. F1 birds can’t sing the exact songs and if weavers, can’t weave as well, but later on it works out.

  3. anne ruh June 10, 2015 9:08 pm

    I wonder which parent the chick will resemble?

  4. Maxgreenwing June 10, 2015 8:32 pm

    They look so happy. 🙂

  5. Catherine Wohlfeil June 9, 2015 9:23 pm

    Appreciate God’s gift for what it is — a natural and awesome miracle demonstrating that love comes in all sizes, colors, and knows no bounds. Fly strong Whoopsie. You give hope to the future of man’s destiny in the strength of the hearts that created you.

  6. WisReader June 9, 2015 12:06 pm

    Love is love; always good to find it. Congratulations to the whole family. Yes, they are adorable, and the photos are super!


  7. Mindy June 9, 2015 12:00 pm

    Awww……sweet little family…..every one is precious

  8. Marilyn June 9, 2015 9:59 am

    Beautiful. Life is beautiful. “What should be ‘done’ with the hybrid chick”? Why should anything be ‘done’ with the chick? Mother Nature is capable of taking care of this sweet family.

  9. Warrenwesternpa June 9, 2015 7:52 am

    A Whoophill Called Whoopsie Heather Ray

    The Whooping Crane Flock has had a share of rough times. Nature, evolution and love may be planet Earth’s measure to insure the survival of both species. We will not be around long enough to see the proof but an interesting speculation.

  10. Bobbie June 9, 2015 7:44 am

    He seems to be such an attentive Dad! Hope that perhaps he can get a divorce and find a White Bird bride in the future. You just never know what can happen?!

  11. Karen Anne June 9, 2015 7:00 am

    From the link: “Based on evidence from captive Whooping Crane/Sandhill Crane hybrids, Whoopsie is likely sterile, but we can’t be certain…yet. There is no pressing need to make an immediate decision on what should be done with the hybrid chick.”

    I don’t think I like the sound of that.

    • Dave Sapko June 9, 2015 11:52 am

      I don’t either Karen. What needs to be done is….nothing at all. Leave the family alone to live their lives in peace. Hopefully the chick will have a long/happy Crane life.

  12. Patti June 9, 2015 6:19 am

    I know this is not the “norm” , but he/she is beautiful, and appears healthy and I pray he or she lives a long and happy life! <3

    • Bikebrains June 9, 2015 11:39 am

      To that I would like to add may she always have tailwinds, may the worms and the blue crabs she eats be fat, nourishing and wholesome.