Aerial Survey

Wisconsin DNR pilot Bev Paulan was able to get a flight in yesterday over Juneau, Adams and Marathon Counties, and reports we’re down to just three wild hatched Whooping crane chicks currently surviving.

W13-17 was seen with 29-09 & 12-03  Juneau County  ~42 days old
W7-17 was with 14-08 & 24-08  Juneau County  ~48 days, and
W3-17 with 24 & 42-09  Adams County  ~72 days. This oldest crane chick should be capable of taking short flights with its parents now.
This nesting season, eighteen chicks hatched from four first nests and ten re-nests in Juneau, Adams, Marathon, St. Croix, and Green Lake counties, Wisconsin. 
Being a small, flightless crane chick isn’t easy. There are predators everywhere – on land and in the air. Often, eggs are predated before they hatch as was the case with the Green Lake County nest on May 8th when an interloper Whooping crane landed very near to the nest.

Nesting pair 3-14 & 4-12 chase off 4-14 (Peanut) from the nest area.

Both parents left the nest to chase off male crane #4-14 and a coyote moved in to get the two eggs that were within a day or two of hatching.
We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the three remaining wild crane chicks and hope they reach the age when they can fly to escape the terrestrial predators.
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  1. karen anne July 19, 2017 6:38 am

    All the more reason to stop sending birds to Louisiana, where they’re just killed by hunters, and to restore the ultralight migration training. The EMP was slowly increasing previously, now it looks much more dismal. I don’t know what the people in power expected. It’s like they don’t care or they don’t look at the numbers.

    Well, at least there are 3.

  2. Gums July 18, 2017 7:56 pm

    Ahh maaan!

    We gotta get 20% or more recruitment or we face the eventual extinction.

    We saw this down near the St Mark’s area in the Panhandle when the mullet and menhanden were netted almost to extinction in the early 90’s. After we voted for severe netting restrictions in the late 90’s we are still not back to where we were then. Ditto for the red drum ( aka redfish). However, we are making a lotta progress on all three species

    Gotta be a way to help the parents get those chicks to fledging without having too much human interference, huh?

    One thot I have had, being a Louisiana troop, is a reverse migration schreme and teach some of those Cajun birds to fly to Wisconsin in early spring. Hmmmm…..

    Gums sends…

    • Barb July 19, 2017 7:16 am

      Hello Gums, I was actually thinking the same thing. Rather than have vulnerable chicks in the North, let them grow a year in the South, then let them migrate North in the Spring as juveniles with other adults that they associate with in the marshes of the South. At this point, there’s not much to lose. 3 wild chicks or less a year will not sustain the Cranes in the long run.

  3. Barb July 18, 2017 6:02 pm

    Hello, Did I read this correctly, 18 chicks hatched, and only 3 remain alive?

  4. dick brooks July 18, 2017 4:19 pm

    Thanks for the update. Sandhill chicks on our dane county marsh dissapeared this year. I no longer begrudge coyote hunting.