Each week, Doug Pellerin travels over several counties to check on Whooping cranes on their summer territories.
Last week he checked on a few cranes in Marquette and Green Lake counties, in addition to a quick check on number 18-11 near Horicon NWR.
Doug was concerned because he wasn’t able to locate parent reared crane number 30-16 so he went back on Saturday, April 1 for another look. Success! He found 30-16 foraging in corn stubble with 2 yr. old Whooping cranes 10 & 11-15!
Whooping cranes 10-15 (F), 11-15 (M) and 30-16 (M) foraging in Green Lake County, WI. Photo: Doug Pellerin
10-15, 11-15 & 30-16 take flight. Photo: Doug Pellerin
Doug sent along some additional details. “30-16 was one of the Parent Reared chicks released last fall and after a short time he was adopted by adult pair 4-12 & 3-14 aka the Royal Couple and spent the rest of the fall foraging around White River Marsh. In early December the three of them took to the skies and headed south for the winter.?
?About a month ago when I was tracking in the marsh I found the three of them back near their regular territory and as I watched them over the next couple of weeks, I noticed 30-16 was close to the Royal Couple but not really close. Last Wednesday when I went to do my weekly tracking duties he was nowhere to be found and I looked everywhere he typically spent time. I grew concerned that he was missing so last Saturday I decided to go over to the marsh again and see if I could find him. I tried tracking through the marsh again with no luck. I decided to expand my search area and eventually found him off the marsh and to my surprise, with 10 & 11-15 foraging in a corn field.
It seems the Royal Couple may have kicked him out of their territory and traditionally that’s what breeding pairs do in the spring.
I think it will benefit 30-16 to be with this new pair. They’re not old enough to have any young of their own yet. So I think they can teach him things that a young whooping crane? needs to know to survive in the wild.”