It’s Breeding Season!

Wisconsin DNR pilot Bev Paulan flew a survey last week over the state and observed the following pairs incubating:

42-09*/24-09; 5-11/12-11*; 13-03*/9-05; W1-06*/1-10; 12-03*/29-09; 32-09*/7-07; 18-02*/13-02; 5-10*/28-08; 24-08*/14-08 and 1-11/59-13*. (* indicates female)

Doug Pellerin visited Necedah NWR over the weekend and sent along the following images, which show the pair consisting of 3-09 (F) and 3-04 (M) with one egg. Since this pair was not seen nesting on 5 April when Bev completed her aerial survey, this is likely the first egg for the two and a second egg will be produced very soon (if not already).

Dad (3-04) incubating at Necedah NWR. Mom 9-03 returns to the nest. Photo: Doug Pellerin

Nest exchange with one egg visible. Photo: Doug Pellerin

Share Button


  1. Mollie Cook April 11, 2017 3:00 pm

    Amazing pictures……….so wonderful to see this. Look forward to the video. Thanks Heather, Doug & Bev!!

  2. Anne L. Ruh April 10, 2017 8:07 pm

    Just wondering if the black flies are still a problem? Do you remove one of the eggs to protect it if they abandon the nest? Lots of luck this year!

    • Heather Ray April 11, 2017 5:51 am

      Yes, they are still an issue and are expected to emerge today or tomorrow. Necedah staff will be removing eggs from any abandoned nests to encourage re-nesting once blackflies have subsided.

  3. Barb April 10, 2017 4:12 pm

    Hello, Does OM put out platforms such as the ones that are provided for other waterfowl? Also will OM take one of the eggs in a two egg nest to incubate off site? Are these the wetlands that have have the black flies?Thanks for the great pictures.

    • Heather Ray April 11, 2017 5:53 am

      There is no need for artificial nest platforms. Whooping cranes create their own nest platform from nearby vegetation. Most eggs from first nests will be collected and transported to the captive breeding centers. This will encourage re-nesting in a couple of weeks once the blackflies have subsided.

  4. Dorothy N April 10, 2017 11:42 am

    Lovely photos of the wet but protected-by-water nest, and a goodly number of nests seen by Bev. Thanks, Doug and Bev!

  5. Sue McCurdy April 10, 2017 10:35 am

    Wow, nesting out in the water. Beautiful photo.

  6. RadAudit1 April 10, 2017 9:26 am

    Nice photo. Thanks.

    Can whooping crane hatchlings swim? The water appears to be about 6″ deep (guess). On the other hand, whooping cranes probably have this figured out, anyways.

    • Heather Ray April 10, 2017 10:09 am

      They can swim! For the first couple of days it would likely stay on the nest platform but they do indeed swim.

  7. Jean P. aka CrabtowneMd April 10, 2017 8:39 am

    WHOOP ! ! Spring has begun ! Praying for a banner year for all the whoopers . This is blessed news. Thank you for posting and all OM does.

  8. Nancy B April 10, 2017 8:25 am

    I was surprised at how close to water level this nest was. Is this normal? Are they not at risk if there’s a big rain?

    • Heather Ray April 10, 2017 8:49 am

      They are, but at the same time, they’re also protected from land predators who would have to splash through the water to approach the nest. Doug also sent along a video clip, which shows one of the birds pulling additional material onto the nest platform. I’ll try to post it shortly.

  9. Dan April 10, 2017 8:04 am

    Thanks Bev and Doug