It’s EMP Update Time! Sep.5,2018 Whooping Crane Update – September 4, 2018 Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month another chick has fledged, and we’ve released our first Whooping Cranes 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 100 (46 F, 51 M, 3 U). This does not include wild-hatched chicks that have not yet fledged, but does include fledged wild-hatched chicks and the family group released at Horicon NWR. As of 1 September, at least 79 Whooping Cranes are in Wisconsin, 3 in Michigan, possibly 3 in Illinois, and 3 in Minnesota. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month or two. See maps below. Nesting As of 4 September, we have had at least ten chicks hatch in Wisconsin, five of which are still alive, and at least two of which have fledged. Chicks in bold are currently alive. W1_18 and W2_18 hatched to parents 12-11 and 5-11 in Juneau Co, WI. W1-18 fledged in late July, and is still in Juneau Co. W3_18 (F) and W4_18 hatched to parents 24-09 and 42-09 in Adams Co, WI. W3-18 is currently alive and with its parents and has been banded. W3-18 fledged sometime in August. W6_18 is still alive and with its parents 1-04 and 16-07 in Juneau Co, WI. W6-18 has been banded. W7_18 and W8_18 hatched to parents 9-03 and 3-04 in Juneau Co. W7_18 is still alive. W9_18 hatched to parents 14-08 and 24-08 in Juneau Co, and is still alive. We have seen 24_08 alone with the chick for most of July and August. W9-18 has been banded. W10_18 hatched to parents 4-08 and 23-10 in Juneau Co, but died in early August. 2018 Releases In 2015, 16_11 (M) nested with a Sandhill Crane at Horicon NWR in Dodge Co, WI. He was captured in spring 2016 and brought to a captive center in Florida, White Oak Conservation, with a captive female, 18_12 (Hemlock). 18_12 was slated to be released with the 2012 DAR cohort at Horicon, but had a health issue that is now resolved. 16_11 and 18_12 paired in captivity, nested in 2018, and laid two eggs which both hatched. On 24 August, Windway Capital Corp. flew the four Whooping Cranes from Florida to Wisconsin. They were all released at Horicon NWR on 25 August near 16_11’s territory. adults 16-11 and 18-12 with twins 73-18 and 74-18. Photo: International Crane Foundation As of 4 September, 16_11 (M) and 73_18 (F) are associating and 18_12 (F) and 74_18 (M) are associating. The two groups are not far from each other. Since release they have explored more of the marsh, have roosted in appropriate habitat, and have made it through some severe storms in the area. 2017 Wild-hatched chicks W3_17 (F) is still in Adams Co, WI, but is no longer with 39_16. W7_17 (F) is still alone in Wright Co, MN. Parent-Reared 2017 Cohort 19_17 (M) and 25_17 (M) are still in Scott, Carver, or Hennepin Co, MN. 28_17 (M) was last seen in Marquette Co, WI. 24_17 (M) is in Rock Co, WI. 72_17 (M) is still in Ingham Co, MI. 38_17 (F) is still in Dodge Co, WI, where she was released in the fall. She has met up with 63-15 (M). 39_17 (F) is still in Outagamie Co, WI. Costume-Reared 2017 Cohort 7_17 (F) is still with 4_14 (M) in Green Lake Co. 3_17 (M) was recently sighted in Green Lake Co, WI with two other adults 30_16 (M) and 11_15 (M). 4_17 (M) and 6_17 (F) are still in Brown Co, WI. 1_17 (M), 2_17 (F), and 8_17 (F) have split up and 1_17 and 2_17 are currently in Winnebago Co, IL. 8_17 was last seen in Sangamon Co, IL, but her whereabouts are now unknown. Mortality The carcass of 71-16 (F) was collected 31 August but she had been dead for a while. She was last seen in late March in the same area. Cause of death is unknown. 18_11 (M), 24_13 (M), 26_09 (F), 10_10 (F), 17_07 (F) have not been seen in over one year, are now assumed to be dead, and have been removed from the population totals above.