Eastern Migratory Population Update

Whooping Crane Update – June 1, 2018

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month Whooping Cranes have continued nesting season, and we’ve had our first wild-hatched chicks of the year. 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 102 (47 F, 52 M, 3 U). As of 1 June, at least 81 Whooping Cranes are in Wisconsin, 3 in Michigan, 2 in Illinois, 3 in Iowa, and 1 in Minnesota. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. See maps below.

Nesting: As of 1 June, we have had two chicks hatch from nests in Wisconsin. We currently have 13 active Whooping Crane nests. One egg was pulled from each of four nests at Necedah NWR, as an effort to supplement captive breeding for this year’s release cohort, and increase chick survival. Chicks in bold are currently alive.

Incubating: W3-10/8-04, 32-09/19-10, 16-07/1-04, 36-09/18-03, 25-09/2-04, 9-03/3-04, 24-08/14-08, and 23-10/4-08 are currently incubating in Juneau Co, WI. 4-12/3-14 are nesting in Green Lake Co, WI. 42-09/24-09 and 3-11/7-11 are nesting in Adams County, 5-10/28-08 are nesting in Marathon Co, and 27-14/10-11 are nesting in Marquette Co, WI.

Eggs pulled: One egg was pulled from each of the following nests: W3-10/8-04, 32-09/19-10, 16-07/1-04, 36-09/18-03.

W1-18 and W2-18 hatched to parents 12-11 and 5-11 in Juneau Co, WI. The chicks were confirmed on 7 May, but likely hatched on 4 May. On 10 May, W2-18 was not seen with the family group.

2017 Wild-hatched chicks
W3_17 (U) is still in Adams Co, WI, with 11_15, 39_16, and sometimes 29_16.

W7_17 (F) left Iowa Co, IA, and is currently in Wright Co, MN.

Parent-Reared 2017 Cohort
19_17 (M) and 25_17 (M) went back to Marathon Co, WI, where they were released last fall.

28_17 (M) is moving around and was last seen in Dodge Co, WI.

24_17 (M) is now in Dane Co, WI.

72_17 (M) is still in Jackson Co, MI.

38_17 (F) is still in Dodge Co, WI, where she was released in the fall.

39_17 (F) is still in Outagamie Co, WI.

36_17 (F) is now in Marathon Co, WI, near where she was released last fall.

Costume-Reared 2017 Cohort
3_17 (M) and 7_17 (F) split up and 7_17 is with 4_14 (M) in Green Lake Co, and 3_17 was last seen in Stephenson Co, IL with 31_16 (M).

4_17 (M) and 6_17 (F) are still moving around, and after spending some time in Sauk and Columbia Counties, are now in Brown Co, WI.

1_17 (M), 2_17 (F), and 8_17 (F) left Peoria Co, IL, and are now in Hancock Co, IA.

Mortality – None known during May.

Confirmed Whooping Crane locations as of 1 June 2018.

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  1. Loretta Cox June 7, 2018 8:49 pm

    Thanks for the info! Saw 1 of the MI Whopping Cranes in Southern Lenawee Co this morning in the field behind my house with some Sandhill Cranes. What a blessing!

  2. Cheryl Murphy June 6, 2018 10:07 pm

    Great information. Update much appreciated. Thank you!

  3. Richard P Brooks June 6, 2018 7:03 pm

    thanks for posting update. Its great to see how they find new territory