2017 Tracking Season

Another year of tracking whooping cranes has come and gone for me except for two, Parent-Reared cranes, and those two birds should be leaving soon with the cold weather coming later this week.?

The Royal Couple: #4-12 & 3-14. Photo: Doug Pellerin

It’s been a interesting year as all years are when tracking whooping cranes. At one point I was tracking 17 different birds in my area. Most of these I was able to get visuals on for the early part of the season, but once the summer heat started they were much harder to locate. Some retreated into the marshes where it was cooler for them and others were molting.?

Henry (5-12) and 30-16. Photo: Doug Pellerin

Once the temperatures got a little cooler the birds started to reappear – some in their regular spots and others started moving around a little.?

2017 was also a year when 4-14 aka (Peanut) played hide an seek with us. First of all Brooke spotted him on the runway at our White River Marsh training site and for a while he stayed fairly close to the area. Then he disappeared and was AWOL for a while.? 

Then when my wife and I were driving over for crane festival we spotted two adult whoopers out in a field – there were two because Peanut had befriended another male whooping crane #11-15 earlier in the year which was a stroke of good luck for those of us tracking him because Peanut’s transmitter has been out of order for a couple years and #11-15 is transmitting, which of course makes it easy to locate them.

After a few weeks they both disappeared again and were missing for a while? until Joe and Heather spotted the two of them, miles away in a different wetland. He sure can be a pain in the butt, LOL.

I’ve also been helping Heather monitor 3 Parent-Reared birds, which we released in Dodge Co. in Sept. They are 24-17, 38-17 & 39-17.

Parent-Reared crane chick #38-17. Photo: Doug Pellerin

Number 24-17 has already migrated, but the other two are still here and I’ll continue monitoring them until they leave once the weather turns colder.

Once they leave I’ll put my tracking gear in hibernation until all the whoopers return in the spring.

It’s been a fun and interesting season!

Share Button


  1. Mindy December 6, 2017 12:17 pm

    Love the pics Doug! Thank you! Enjoy all the Snowies being down in the U.S. this year….

  2. Maggie December 5, 2017 4:19 pm

    Guess when you are monitoring all those beautiful birds, it is never boring as they seem to keep you busy. I sure hope that one of these years we can hear that there is a successful breeding pair (pairs) doing their thing in the Horicon Marsh area and that I am still able to enjoy that . Thanks for all the news that you provide us with as it is always great hearing about them. Thanks heaps.

  3. Mollie Cook December 4, 2017 1:57 pm

    Thank you Doug for all you do & the many miles you cover for the Whoopers. I hope you & Miko have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you for all the splendid pictures that you share.
    I hear this should be a good year for Snowy Owls in WI……..hope you get some good shots.

  4. Dorothy N December 4, 2017 1:05 pm

    Great photos and an informative write-up. THANK YOU for finding your path to help these beautiful birds.

  5. PattiLat December 4, 2017 12:41 pm

    Thanks so much Doug for your beautiful pictures and excellent journaling. It means a lot to us who watch/read with baited breath the continuing saga of our beloved Whooopers. This has indeed been a most interesting year. Again, can’t thank you enough for the happiness you and OM bring to me.

  6. Margaret December 4, 2017 12:35 pm

    Big thanks for all the volunteer work you do for OM!

  7. Anna M Osborn December 4, 2017 12:17 pm

    Thank you so much for all you do. I hang on to your every word and beep beep…….Happy winter to you.

  8. Dora Giles December 4, 2017 8:40 am

    Thank you for keeping us informed but I have one question. Who can be a “pain in the butt” – Joe or Peanut? LOL, laughing at that one statement. Have a great winter and see ya next spring.