EMP Update

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. During January, most Whooping Cranes stayed at their wintering areas and few moved short distances. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, the International Crane Foundation, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 103 (47 F, 54 M, 2 U). As of 1 February, at least 30 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Indiana, 3 in Illinois, 7 in Kentucky, 2 in Arkansas, 10 in Tennessee, 27 in Alabama, 6 in Florida, 5 in Georgia, and 1 in Louisiana. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during January. See map below.

2015 Wild Chicks

W10_15 and 24_13 was in Greene County, Indiana with a large group of Whooping Cranes.

W18_15 and male 16-04 were reported in Knox Co, IN during January.

Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort

14_15 (F) is at Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

20_15 (M) spent all of January in Saint Martin Parish, LA.

DAR 2015 Cohort

61_15 (F), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) continue to be in Randolph Co, IL.

65_15 (F) and 27_14 (F) are at Wheeler NWR, in Morgan Co, Alabama.

66_15 (F) was last reported in the end of December in Rhea Co, TN. It’s possible she is still in the area and is a spot that is difficult to get a radio signal.

68_15 (F) spent January in Rhea or Meigs Co, TN.

UL 2015 Cohort

2_15 (F) spent most of January in Thomas Co, GA, but arrived at St. Mark’s NWR in Wakulla Co, FL by the end of the month.

6_15 (F) spent January with 38-09 at Wheeler NWR in Morgan Co, AL.

8_15 (F) spent January in Sumter Co, AL.

10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) also continue to be at Wheeler NWR, AL. 

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) spent all of January in Dyer Co, TN.

30_16 (M) is with 4_12 and 3_14 in Seminole Co, GA.

31_16 (M) and 38_16 (M) left Kentucky on 7 January and went to Poinsett Co, Arkansas, where they spent the rest of the month.

33_16 (F) spent all of January in Citrus Co, FL.

71_16 (F) is still in Jackson Co, IN.

70_16 (M) is still at Wheeler NWR, AL. He doesn’t consistently spend time with the same adult Whooping Cranes but has been seen associating with 18_11 and 14_15.

69_16 (F) continues to associate with 1_11 and 59_13 at Wheeler NWR in Alabama.


4_11 (F) was found dead on 3 January at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene Co, IN. It was confirmed she had been shot, but authorities have not identified the person responsible. There is a reward out for information about the crime.  

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  1. Warrenwesternpa February 4, 2017 7:29 pm

    EMP Update: Heather Ray

    Our Western Pa. winter has been quite cold. Is it unusual that our February birds have not migrated further south? I have been ready for Florida for at least a month! 🙂

    • Heather Ray February 5, 2017 10:00 am

      As long as they have access to open water and there isn’t a lot of snow cover, they can still find food and water for roosting 🙂