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.
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.