EMP Update

September 1, 2017

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, both surviving wild-hatched chicks have fledged. We are also beginning to plan the releases of this year’s captive-raised cohort. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, the International Crane Foundation, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.

Population Estimate

The current maximum population size is 96 (42 F, 50 M, 4 U). This includes two fledged 2017 wild-hatched chicks (unknown sex). As of 1 September, at least 83 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in Wisconsin, 1 in Iowa, 2 in North Dakota, 1 in Michigan, and 1 in Kentucky. The remaining birds’ locations have not been reported during August. See map below.

2017 Wild-hatched chicks

There are currently two wild-hatched chicks alive in Wisconsin, both of which have fledged. 

W3_17 hatched ~4 May to parents 42-09/24-09 in Adams Co, WI. W3_17 has fledged and has been seen flying with its parents.

W7_17 hatched ~30 May to parents 14-08/24-08 in Juneau Co, WI. W7_17 has also fledged and has received its permanent bands and transmitter.

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) continue to be in Ward County, ND.

30_16 (M) is still in Green Lake Co, WI.

31_16 (M) spent all of August in Winnebago Co, WI.

33_16 (F) left Day Co, SD and is currently in Clinton Co, IA.

69_16 (F) went south to Walworth Co during August, but then returned to Jefferson Co, WI.

70_16 (M) is still in Knox County, KY.

71_16 (F) spent all of August in Winnebago Co, WI.


8_15 (F) was found dead on 24 August 2017 in Fond du Lac County, WI. Mortality was likely due to powerline collision.

Full extent of Whooping Crane locations as of 1 September 2017.

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