Where’s (Waldo) Whooper?

Regular readers will recall from stories we’ve published over the years that these birds have an amazing ability to find each other. 

Is it that they’re stark white and more visible to cranes passing overhead? Certainly, their use of wetlands narrows down the available options but with an area stretching from Wisconsin to Florida, well, you can understand it’s pretty remarkable when they do find each other.

After looking at some remote tracking data this morning, I think I may have uncovered a clue.

Parent-Reared female crane #39-17 finally decided to leave Horicon NWR on Saturday. She took advantage of cold temps and northwest winds and escaped midday. By yesterday, she arrived in Jasper County, Indiana – IN THE SAME POND AS #24-17!

Here’s a screengrab showing her location:

39-17 in Jasper County, Indiana. Source: Google Earth

Now take a look at the PTT hits for another Parent-Reared crane #24-17:

24-17 in Jasper County, Indiana. Source: Google Earth

Number 24-17 has been at this location for about 3 weeks and has been seen with two adult cranes (63-15 & 71-16), who also happened to be at Horicon NWR while I was monitoring 38-17 and 39-17. They did not have any associations with #24-17 until they all met at this location. In fact all the times I saw 24-17 in southern Dodge County, he was always with Sandhill cranes. 

No wonder 39-17 found him! See the arrow the dots indicating his locations have made? She just had to look for the big colorful arrow!

Parent-Reared crane #24-17 on the left with adults 71-16 and 63-15 on the right. Photo: Gary Soper

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  1. Carl Racchini December 12, 2017 10:44 am

    Thanks for the update!!!! Now we wait on 38-17!!!!

  2. Jean P. aka CrabtowneMd December 12, 2017 10:25 am

    Awesome news ! I love those remote tracking maps; they really help scientists discover the habits of the whoopers and other birds. Thank you for keeping all the craniacs informed.

  3. Dorothy N December 12, 2017 10:06 am

    How do they do it??? Go figure…