The map below indicates the last known location of the Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population. This map does not include birds that have not been reported for over one month, are known to have moved from a previous location or that are long term missing.
Maximum size of the eastern migratory population at the end of the report period was 97 birds (54 males, 43 females). Estimated distribution at the end of the report period included 40 whooping cranes in Indiana, 10 in Illinois, 8 in Kentucky, 6 in Tennessee, 11 in Alabama, 3 in Georgia, 6 in Florida, 10 at unknown locations, 1 not recently reported, 1 long term missing, and 1 suspected mortality.
Male no. 5-13 apparently disappeared on or near the St. Marks NWR, Wakulla County, Florida, on Thanksgiving night. He is suspected dead but is still included in the population totals above. Efforts are currently underway to locate him.
Captures for transmitter replacements
7 November: no. 29-09
A total of 16 free-flying cranes were captured this fall.
Nos. 4-12 and 5-12 were reported at the St. Marks NWR, Wakulla County, Florida, on 30 November.
No. 7-12 remained with nos. 3-11, 24-13 and 38-09 in Knox County, Indiana, except for a brief trip north into Greene County on at least 23-25 November. Pair nos. 29-08 and W3-10 joined this group by 18 November and no. 18-09 joined by 23 November.
No. 14-12 remained in LaPorte County, Indiana, until beginning migration on the evening of 30 November or early morning 1 December. He was found in Jackson County, Indiana, on 1 December.
No. 16-12 began migration from Monroe County, Wisconsin, on 17 November. He was found in Jackson County, Indiana, on 19 November where he remained through at least last check on 2 December.
Nos. 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8-13 began migration from Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin on 13 November. Satellite readings indicted roost locations in Iroquois County, Indiana, on 13 November; Wabash County, Illinois, on 14 November; northern Alabama on 17 November and Decatur County, Georgia, on 18 November where they remained until arriving at the St. Marks NWR, Wakulla County, Florida by roost on 21 November. No. 5-13 disappeared from this location on the night of 27 November (see above).
No. 9-13 began migration from Dodge County, Wisconsin, on 13/14 November. Satellite readings placed in him Newton County, Indiana, on 14-20 November; Clinton County, Indiana, on 25-29 November and Lawrence County, Indiana, by roost on 1 December. He was observed at this location with two sandhill cranes on 2 December and continued south to Barren County, Kentucky, the next day.
No. 22-13 began migration from Vermilion/Champaign Counties, Illinois, on 14 November. Satellite reading indicated a roost location in DeKalb County, Tennessee, on 15 and 16 November. He arrived at his previous wintering territory at the Hiwassee WR, Meigs County, Tennessee, on 17/18 November.
No. 24-13 remained with nos. 3-11, 7-12 and 38-09 in Knox County, Indiana. Pair nos. 29-08 and W3-10 joined this group by 18 November and no. 18-09 joined by 23 November. No. 7-12 briefly left this location (see above).
No. 57-13 remained in Dodge County, Wisconsin, through at least 9 November. He was not detected in the area on 13 November and was reported in Jackson County, Indiana, on 19 November.
No. 59-13 was reported at the Wheeler NWR, Morgan County, Alabama, on 21 November where she remains.
Wild-hatched – No. W3-14 remained with her father in Greene County, Indiana, throughout the report period.
Ultralight – Seven juveniles in the ultralight-led cohort departed from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, Wisconsin on 10 October. On 13 November they were boxed and driven from Dane County, Wisconsin, to the 13th stopover location in Carroll County, Tennessee, where they resumed migration. They are currently located at their 19th stopover in Pike County, Alabama.
Parent-reared – No. 19-14 began migration from near the Necedah NWR, Wisconsin, with adult pair nos. 7-07 and 39-07 on 12 November. They were reported in Winnebago County, Illinois, that night and remained at least through roost on 16 November, apparently continuing migration on 17 November. Low precision satellite readings from no. 19-14 indicated a roost location in Grayson County, Kentucky, on the night of 18 November. They were photographed on a game camera in Logan County, Kentucky, on the morning of 19 November and continued south on 20 November, arriving on the adults wintering ground in Lowndes County, Georgia, by 22 November. They remain at this location.
No. 20-14 remained with pair nos. 9-05 and 13-03 in Greene County, Indiana. These three birds have been seen associating with pair nos. 8-04 and 19-05 at this location.
No. 27-14 remained with pair nos. 2-04 and 25-09 in Hopkins County, Kentucky, throughout the report period. Pair nos. 24-09 and 42-09 joined this group by 21 November. An additional two Whooping Cranes were observed at this location on 4 December.
No recent reports
Female no. 27-10 was last detected on the Necedah NWR, Juneau County, Wisconsin on 22 April. Her transmitter is likely nonfunctional.
Long term missing
Female no. 2-11 was last reported at her wintering location in Marion County, Florida, on 9 April 2013. She has a nonfunctional transmitter and cannot be tracked.
This update is a product of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. To access our previous project updates and additional information on the project visit our web site at http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/.
We thank Windway Aviation Corp and pilots Bev Paulan and Michael Callahan (Wisconsin DNR) for aerial tracking assistance. We also thank staff from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Dan Kaiser, Dan Troglin, Rick Houlk, Charles Murray, Mary Emanuel, and John Pohl for tracking assistance.