Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month we have released most of this year’s cohort of parent-reared juveniles into Wisconsin. 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.
The current maximum population size is 109 (50 F, 57 M, 2 U). This total includes wild-hatched and released chicks from 2016. As of 4 October, at least 100 Whooping Cranes have been confirmed in WI, 1 is currently in Michigan, and 4 are in Illinois. The remaining 4 birds have not been confirmed in WI yet this year. See map below.
2015 Wild Chicks
W10-15 has been associating with adult male 24-13. They have spent most of the summer at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, but have been moving around Juneau County throughout September.
W18-15 was associating with adult male 16-04. However, in mid-September (who we presume is) W18-15 was seen with its parents 9-03 and 3-04 in Juneau County.
Parent-Reared 2015 Cohort
14-15 (F) has still been in Jefferson Co, WI throughout September.
20-15 (M) is still in Walworth Co, WI where he has been for most of the summer.
DAR 2015 Cohort
61-15 (F), 62-15 (M), 63-15 (M), and 67-15 (F) continue to be at their wintering grounds in Randolph Co. IL.
65-15 (F) and 27-14 (F) spent part of September in Marathon Co, WI, but started moving around Wood Co later in the month.
66-15 (F) is still in Racine Co, WI.
68-15 (F) has remained in Dunn Co, WI throughout September.
UL 2015 Cohort
1-15 (F) has remained in Rock Co, WI.
2-15 (F) spent all of September in Walworth Co.
6-15 (F) was in Winnebago Co, WI for most of the summer, but during September moved to Adams Co and began associating with male 19-10.
8-15 (F) was in Calumet Co, but moved to Winnebago Co during September.
10-15 (F), and 11-15 (M) were in Dane Co, but moved to Outagamie and then to Winnebago Counties.
2016 Wild Chicks
W7-16 is with parents 29-09 and 12-03 in Juneau Co.
Parent-Reared 2016 Cohort
29-16 (M), 34-16 (F), and 39-16 (M) were released in Adams County near adults 24-09 and 42-09.
30-16 (M) and 71-16 (F) were released at White River Marsh in Green Lake Co, near 4-12/3-14 and 5-12/8-14.
31-16 (M) and 38-16 (M) were released in Marquette County near adults 7-14 and 4-13.
32-16 (F) was released in Outagamie County near 10-15 and 11-15 on 17 September and was found dead on 19 September (see below).
33-16 (F) and 37-16 (M) were released in Juneau Co near adults 12-11 and 5-11.
Parent-reared juvenile 32-16 was found dead 19 September in Outagamie County after release. This chick was likely killed by a coyote.