Whooping Crane Dating

“We found that a substantial portion (62%) of breeding pairs started associating at least 12 months before first breeding.”

Discovery Magazine ran a story yesterday titled “Birds Go Steady Before Having Kids.” CLICK to read to full article.

This is certainly true for the pair in the Eastern Migratory Population dubbed “The Royal Couple.”

Here’s a photo of them taken in June of 2015 when female #3-14 had just returned to the area and was just over a year old. She began associating with male #4-12 at White River Marsh in Green Lake County, Wisconsin and the two have been inseparable since.

Last year they nested in the marsh and dutifully tended the nest to within a day or two of hatching when sadly, a coyote discovered the eggs. Both were viable so we’re really hopeful this pair will nest again this spring.

Here’s female Whooper #3-14 (right) with male #4-12. The young female still has a slight tinge of her juvenile coloring at the nape of her neck. Photo: H. Ray

This pair was spotted a couple of weeks ago at their typical winter territory in south Georgia.

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