MADISON, Wis. – Whooping Cranes returning to Wisconsin this spring have achieved two important milestones toward establishing a self-sustaining flock of this ancient and endangered species in eastern North America.
A pair has nested for the first time at White River Marsh Wildlife Area, marking a welcome expansion of nesting range in Wisconsin and providing an important backstop to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, where most of the returning cranes have nested to date.
And another pair of cranes nesting in Necedah claimed the crown of the first nest in Wisconsin resulting from a released ‘parent-reared’ bird, a bird reared by a parent crane in captivity, not by costumed human caretakers.
“We are so pleased that Whooping Cranes are expanding and taking advantage of this previously unutilized suitable nesting habitat, so we do not have all of our eggs in one basket, so to speak,” says Trina Soyk, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who co-leads communications for the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) leading the restoration project.
“And we are very excited about the first nest from a parent-reared Whooping Crane. Both of these are important milestones, and we are cautiously optimistic about the future of these pairs and the direction of our efforts toward helping achieve a self-sustaining population.”