The 2015 cohort of Ultralight birds has been banded and released at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Spring migration is well underway, with more sightings of birds returning to Wisconsin every day. A huge thank-you to the staff of Operation Migration, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Natural Resources, and all of the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes on their wintering grounds and throughout their migration. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the whooping crane eastern migratory population.
The current maximum population size is 103 (48 F, 53 M, 2 Unknown). As of 31 March approximately 43% of the population has been confirmed in Wisconsin. The map below shows last known locations, so some birds who have begun migration but have not been confirmed farther north may still be shown on their wintering grounds.
W10_15’s parents 2_04/25_09 returned to Necedah NWR as of mid-March. W10_15 was photographed alone in Vernon County, Wisconsin on 26 March.
W18_15 is still with its parents (9_03/3_04) in Wayne Co, IL as of 21 March.
14_15 (F) associates with a pair of adult whooping cranes in LaPorte County, Indiana, but unfortunately appears to be injured (see below).
20_15 (M) is still alone in Louisiana but starting to move north, currently in Concordia Parish.
DAR 2015 Cohort
61_15 (F), 62_15 (M), 63_15 (M), and 67_15 (F) are still located together in Randolph Co, IL.
65_15 (F) has begun to travel north, currently located in Kosciusko Co, IN.
66_15 (F) is still located in Lake Co, FL.
68_15 (F) last located in January near Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area.
64_15 (F) was last seen leaving Horicon with a large group of sandhill cranes and has not been reported at a winter location.
UL 2015 Cohort
1_15 (F), 6_15 (F), 8_15 (F), 10_15 (F), and 11_15 (M) left St. Marks together 30 March and at last GPS reading were located in Elmore Co, AL.
2_15 (F) began migration with a group of older birds but split off and veered into eastern Indiana for several days. However, as of 31 March her GPS points put her in Iroquois Co, IL, back on the right track and hopefully headed towards Wisconsin.
1_11 (M) and 59_13 (F) have returned together from their wintering location at Wheeler NWR to 1_11’s summer territory in St. Croix County, WI.
3_14 (F) and 4_12 (M) have returned together to the White River Marsh area in Green Lake Co, WI.
14_12 (M) and 27_14 (F) have been seen associating frequently in LaPorte Co, IN in the past month. It remains to be seen whether they will continue to migrate together.
14_15 (F) was reported in LaPorte County, IN on 28 March with a bad limp. She was still able to fly at least short distance. We will continue to monitor the situation and determine the best course of action.
7_09 (F) found dead 12 March in Lawrence Co, IL. Cause of death has not yet been determined, although predation is suspected.
*Many thanks to Karis Ritenour/ICF for compiling this and preceding monthly reports