Parent-Reared Whooping Crane #30-17

You may recall this young female crane was released in Winnebago County, Wisconsin on October 5th. Jo-Anne Bellemer was tasked with monitoring her, as well as number 72-17 – a young male Whooping Crane released in the same area a week earlier.

Number 30-17 promptly hid along the edge of a wooded lot adjacent the marsh where she was released, prompting Jo and I to take a not so leisurely stroll into the woods to confirm she was either upright (yay!) or horizontal (boo!).

After a 30-minute trek, we did find her upright and breathed a collective sigh of relief. 

Jo continued a game of cat and mouse over the next few weeks before this young crane flew south – WAY SOUTH in fact!

By the third week of November Whooping Crane #30-17 had gone as far south as she possibly could have gone, while still keeping land below and she had arrived in the Mississippi Delta area of Louisiana – some 1100 miles from where she was released in Wisconsin.

Eva Szyszkoski, formerly with ICF and the Eastern Migratory Population but now with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), sent along the following photos to share with readers. LDWF pilot Michael Chauff carries out aerial surveys over the dispersal area for the non-migratory Whooping Cranes in Louisiana. Knowing there was an EMP crane in the area, they dialed in her VHF frequency during the December 22nd flight and had no problems locating her in ideal habitat.

The red arrow indicates the location of #30-17. Photo: Michael Chauff, LDWF

Love the crane shadow! Photo: Michael Chauff, LDWF

Very little chance of human disruption in this area. Photo: Michael Chauff, LDWF

Share Button


  1. Barb January 10, 2018 8:28 am

    My husband’s Grandmother used to winter in Florida. I wonder if she is staying at the same condo? :):)

  2. Linda Maslin January 9, 2018 6:30 pm

    What happened to 72-17?

    • Heather Ray January 10, 2018 4:41 am

      She is wintering in Florida.

      • Linda Maslin January 10, 2018 8:24 am


  3. Dorothy N January 9, 2018 1:34 pm

    She’s a real independent gal, challenging the powers that be to find her. But she couldn’t outsmart y’all!! Good Work, OM (and assistants).

  4. Bikebrains January 9, 2018 10:52 am

    I have read that some whoopers have been shot in LA and one article requesting that the birds be removed from LA to prevent further loss. What is the status of the LA flock? Has the shooting stopped?

    • Heather Ray January 9, 2018 1:28 pm

      There have been shootings in the Louisiana population – just as some of the EMP cranes have been shot and even the naturally occurring Wood Buffalo Aransas flock. As long as there are guns, Whooping cranes (and other species), unfortunately, will be shot.

  5. Jean P. aka CrabtowneMd January 9, 2018 9:54 am

    Love the shadow picture ! She sure picked some great habitat. I am wondering if she will head north and lead some of the AL cranes on an adventure. One more bit if intrigue to follow this Spring and yes, hope springs eternal.

    • Gerald January 9, 2018 3:05 pm

      We can certainly hope but not likely.

  6. Grandma January 9, 2018 9:42 am

    So happy she made it. Have been worried about her. Thanks for the updates and photos.

  7. Barb January 9, 2018 9:38 am

    Yeah for 30-17. Perhaps she is so far South because she just loves to fly!!!! Thanks for the photos. To get an actual eyeball on her is wonderful. The photographer has great eyes to spot her in such a wide expanse of land.

  8. Anna M Osborn January 9, 2018 9:21 am

    Great shot and wonderful news.

  9. Elsie Sealander January 9, 2018 8:21 am

    Good news.

  10. Susan O’Connell January 9, 2018 7:33 am

    Any idea if she traveled with another crane or sandhill?

    • Heather Ray January 9, 2018 8:54 am

      Unfortunately, there is no way to know. While in Wisconsin, she was associating with Sandhills.