March EMP Update

Whooping Crane Update – March 1, 2018 

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month Whooping Cranes begun migration! 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 estimated population size is 103 (48 F, 52 M, 3 U). As of 1 March, 1 Whooping Crane is still in Wisconsin, 1 in Michigan, 4 in Illinois, 39 in Indiana, 11 in Kentucky, 7 in Tennessee, 20 in Alabama, 4 in Georgia, 7 in Florida, and 2 in Louisiana. Some of these birds have begun migration and have not been reported further north, so these are the last known locations. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. See maps below.

2017 Wild-hatched chicks

W3_17 (U) is still with its parents (24_09 and 42_09) in Hopkins Co, KY.

W7_17 (F) is still with her parents (14_08 and 24_08) in Morgan Co, AL.

Parent-Reared 2017 Cohort

19_17 (M) and 25_17 (M) are still in Jackson Co, AL likely with adult 37_07 (M). Females 2_15 and 28_05 have left Alabama and are currently in northern Indiana.

28_17 (M) was last confirmed in Okeechobee Co, FL, and may still be in the area.

24_17 (M) is still with 63_15 (M) in Randolph Co, IL.

72_17 (M) is still in Hendry Co, FL.

30_17 (F) is still in Plaquemines Parish, LA.

38_17 (F) is still in Dodge Co, WI. Sandhill Cranes have now returned to Wisconsin and 38_17 was seen with a few Sandhills at the end of February.

39_17 (F) is in Pulaski Co, IN, near 2_15 (F) and 28_05 (F).

36_17 (F) is still in Madison Co, FL.

Costume-Reared 2017 Cohort

3_17 (M) and 7_17 (F) are still in Morgan Co, AL at Wheeler NWR.

4_17 (M) and 6_17 (F) are still in Fulton Co, KY.

1_17 (M), 2_17 (F), and 8_17 (F) are still in Talladega Co, AL. 

Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort

29_16 (M) and 39_16 (M) are still in Dyer Co, TN.

30_16 (M) and 5_12 (M) are still at St. Mark’s NWR in Wakulla Co, FL.

31_16 (M) was last seen in Weakley Co, TN, at the end of February.

33_16 (F)’s satellite transmitter is still firing off along the Mississippi River in Clinton Co, IA, however she has not been seen. We suspect she may be dead, but we have not yet removed her from the totals until we can confirm.

69_16 (F) is still at Wheeler NWR in Morgan Co, AL. This winter she was associating regularly with 11_15 (M).

70_16 (M) was captured in Knox Co, KY, by a landowner when he was caught in a fence. He was brought to a rehab center, and Louisville Zoo, where he underwent surgery for his injuries, but ended up being euthanized.

71_16 (F) left Florida and is now in Jackson Co, IN, with thousands of Sandhill Cranes.


70_16 (M) was euthanized during February at the Louisville Zoo, for injuries sustained in the wild. See above.

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  1. Grandma March 2, 2018 12:11 pm

    Thank you for the updates Heather. Know a lot of time and work go into letting us know where the Whoopers are. Hoping spring will be here soon along with the Whoopers. Thanks for all at OM for everything you do.

  2. Linda Wild March 2, 2018 8:22 am

    I sent you information on 2 cranes I saw near Lakes Wales ,FL. Are these permanent FL cranes? I never received confirmation from you.

    • Heather Ray March 5, 2018 8:34 am

      Linda, I didn’t receive anything from you. How did you send?

  3. Cheryl Murphy March 2, 2018 8:09 am

    Thank you for the update!