Nature Can be Cruel

We’re very sorry to report that the nest in Green Lake County, Wisconsin was predated last evening at 7:20 pm by a coyote. 

I can only describe the events leading up to it as a roller coaster ride of emotions. We watched on the CraneCam as a third whooping crane appeared on the screen. I was viewing the feed on my television screen so that I could determine its legband combination and I’m 99% certain it was #4-14, aka Peanut. Could it be? 

Of course the nesting adults were doing everything they could do to chase away the interloper from their nesting territory. Looking back now, I believe they were distracted trying to run off the other crane, until the coyote was mere feet from their nest.

It was on a mission and went through the water surrounding the nest platform, knowing what the reward would be. The parents ran at him and tried to ward him off but he wasn’t going to be thwarted. 

As you know by now, this was the first nest at White River Marsh and we had pinned a lot of hope on its outcome. If the egg((s) were fertile we were expecting a hatch today or tomorrow.

Obviously, we’re as disappointed as I’m sure, each of you are…

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  1. Joan Chandler May 19, 2017 3:48 pm

    So very sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers to all.

  2. Rolando May 14, 2017 10:38 pm


  3. Matt May 13, 2017 4:56 am

    I am sorry to hear about what happened to the eggs . I know OM and crew have worked so hard on this. Like I have said before , Coyotes have been responsible for a lot of whooping crane deaths not including the eggs over the years. Predation and shooting deaths of whooping cranes are whats holding back population increase. I pray that something is being done about it. Thank You for the work to help preserve the whooping cranes. PS. We not only have whooping cranes being shot, we have folks shooting eagles also, eagle deaths have been rising because of shootings.

  4. lilbirdz May 10, 2017 11:12 am

    “Nobody calls a winner/when Nature’s callin’ the game” (Barbara Allen-Lytel from “I’m Comin’ Around” about Molly the barn owl. We are all heartbroken about this loss, but OM did not have its many successes by giving up. Let’s hope that your heroic efforts will be rewarded by a re-nesting and a dozen lucky breaks from Mother Nature.

  5. Catherine Wohlfeil May 9, 2017 8:48 pm

    I shared the site link and posted the following to Facebook. Through this tragic time, may it help to establish peace both without, and within…

    Share if you care about wildlife, about the environment, about hope that our children will one day see these birds spiral up into the sky and dance in the morning wind….

    The “royal couple” as they were known, were once fledgling birds who were taught the migratory path by the team at Operation Migration and their ultralight crew, leading them southward into the horizon of the establishment of the Eastern Migratory population of whooping cranes, an endangered species, with only 600 birds left in the world.

    This news of the loss of their chicks, though sad, can unite us around a hope for a tomorrow filled with these magnificent birds.
    Elephants gather and form a circle in an attempt to protect their young. Perhaps “Peanut” the little crane mentioned, arrived in the hope/belief that he too may “form a circle” to protect the future, to enable hope.

    Let us learn from Peanut and gather hands in unity. Let us create a future in which these magnificent birds fill the sky, raise their wings and heads in joyous song, and teach OUR CHILDREN the value of friendship, the audacity of hope, and the strength to believe in the future. Support Operation Migration. They taught the birds to Find their way Home… Let us Find our Way Together.

  6. Dora May 9, 2017 4:52 pm

    Are the 3 adults cranes okay?


  7. Marianna Sadowski May 9, 2017 12:21 pm

    Bummer. Such sad and disappointing news. Nature can indeed be cruel….and some things are just beyond human control. Rats. But the nest and the eggs and the parents ON the nest…..all of that is still progress. We must not give up……we pick our ownselves up and keep on keepin’ on. Re-establishing a species is not for sissies. <3

  8. Mindy May 9, 2017 10:57 am

    What a heart-rending loss….and so close to hatch date. So very sorry for the RC and the OM team as well….This loss will ultimately help them learn for the next one so that is the good side of this, plus the fact that the RC is ok. We look forward to future nesting. Would they lay more eggs this late?

  9. Marilyn May 9, 2017 10:24 am

    Heather, I wish my arms were long enough to put around you and all the other OM folks – I’m so sorry for the pain you must be feeling. We’re all “with you”. Many hugs and love. God bless.

  10. Sally Swanson May 9, 2017 10:24 am

    I have no words that haven’t been spoken. I am so sad. Thank you all again and again for your dedication. I know sometimes it is really difficult.


  11. Mollie Cook May 9, 2017 9:58 am

    My heart aches with everyone else. So very sorry for this tragic loss.

  12. Sally May 9, 2017 9:31 am

    So sorry!!!! Do we know what peanut was up to?

  13. Sue McCurdy May 9, 2017 8:34 am

    I’m so sorry. I loved seeing them in their nest. Damn coyote. I know it is devastating for all of you.

  14. Jane Maher May 9, 2017 7:50 am

    So sorry for the nesting birds, the crew, and all the watchers. A terribly sad and disappointing event.

  15. Diane Lowe May 9, 2017 7:48 am

    So sorry about this very sad news. This is so difficult ,but especially for the OM team. I wish to thank all of you for providing us the opportunity to learn so much about the beautiful Whooping Cranes. Thank you for all you and your team does to save these wonderful birds. You all are so very special.

  16. Barbara Wing May 9, 2017 7:38 am

    Our RC will make great parents, as they showed they have what it takes. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for next Spring to turn out better and happier. Perhaps the egg(s) were not viable, or we can think that rather than that they were. Can OM build a fence around the nest? Hugs to all. Meep, meep.

  17. Cheryl Murphy May 9, 2017 7:36 am

    At a loss for words. I also thank you OM for your hard work and dedication. We share the ups and downs with you. This is another really tough one.

  18. Marje Lloyd May 9, 2017 6:55 am

    Oh so very sorry that this has happened you must all be so disappointed, thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to see this first nest at white river marsh, is it possible they will re-nest.

  19. Benne Ferrell May 9, 2017 5:23 am

    I am so very sorry this happened. It is a devastating loss, one each of you must feel keenly. It was exciting watching the cranes nest and awaiting the hatch, and this nestcam was special. Operation Migration has done so much for these magnificent birds, and I support your continued mission to save our beloved Whoopers. Thank you for all you do.