Whooping Crane Migration Update: April 18, 2008

Today's Report Includes:

  • The Migration : Map, Data and Highlights >>
  • Field Reports: Cranes on the Move! >>
  • Journal Question: How Long on the Wintering Grounds? >>
  • Nesting News! Six Wisconsin Nests >>
  • Links: This Week's Crane Resources >>

Through Eva's camera lens: #706, #712, #713. But where are they today?

Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

The Migration: Maps, Data and Highlights
Maps and Data


Arrival Log >>

Map Questions >>


Western Flock: The first cranes have reached Saskatchewan! A flurry of sightings have been reported in the U.S. with a break in the weather. Martha Tacha (USFWS) reports six confirmed sightings in the Dakotas along with a few new sightings in Nebraska and Kansas.

On April 14 this missing crane showed up at the same Indiana farm where 5 DAR birds had been since March 21! Which crane? >>

Eastern Flock: More than half the flock are home, and the remaining 20 cranes from the Class of 2007 are making their way north. In Wisconsin, the week's big excitement has been nesting by six adult pairs!

  • Which Cranes Have Reached the Finish Line? See the list: >>
Field Reports: Cranes on the Move!

"This is #716, 717, 721, 724 and 726 in Jefferson County, WI. They are fighting with a sandhill crane. After a couple minutes, they all settled down and began to forage."
Eva Szyszkoski, ICF Tracking Intern

Read >>
Tom Stehn's and Brian Johns' reports

Read >>
Sara's, Eva's, Colleen's and Anna's reports

Western Flock Report: Whoopee! "With birds being in south-central Saskatchewan on April 15, I suspect that the first birds to arrive in Wood Buffalo National Park will be there early next week," reports biologist Brian Johns in Canada." Tom Stehn has news from Texas.>>

Eastern Flock Report: So far, at least 43 of the flock's 74 cranes are confirmed back in central Wisconsin, including two of the twenty-two 2007 cranes — ultralight-led and DAR (Direct Autumn Release). Sara, Eva, Colleen and Anna bring news of individual cranes and their jobs as trackers. Why is spring a crazy time of year for Whooping Cranes? >>

Journal Question: How Long on the Wintering Grounds?

On April 4, #709 became the first of the Class of 2007 to complete migration to Wisconsin. He was among the first to leave Florida on March 25.

  • In how many days did he complete his journey north?
  • How many days did #709 spend on the wintering grounds? (The Class of 2007 arrived in Florida January 28, 2008.)
  • In the flock's 7-year history, how does #709's time on the wintering grounds compare with other first cranes to depart on spring migration? See Chart >>

Write your responses in your Journal. >>


Crane #709 was located in Wood County, Wisconsin during an aerial search by Richard Urbanek. Colleen then located him in a cornfield with 2 Sandhill Cranes. "He seems to be doing well, and he even has his adult plumage now," reports Colleen.

Photo Colleen Wisinski, ICF

Nesting News! Six Wisconsin Nests
"We knew of three nests for sure, but there are some places on the refuge that are hard to get to, so Richard Urbanek (USFWS) did a survey flight on April 14 to see where the nests are. He found 6 nests (not including #310 and W601’s “practice” nest) on the refuge and one potential nest off the refuge. Still another 5 adult pairs may nest this year. It would be a very good year if even half of the nests produced a chick that survived to fledging! It takes about 30 days of incubation before an egg hatches. If things go well and the adults are good parents, we could have some new crane chicks in early May." Colleen Wisinski, ICF
Three of the six active nests to date are shown on this map of Necedah NWR in Wisconsin. Will chicks be hatched? Everyone hopes so!

Photo Richard Urbanek, ICF
This Week's Crane Resources
  • Flock History: Rescued Eggs Become Eastern Flock's First Chicks! >>
  • Tracking Report: Tracking #727 on Her First Journey North, by Anna Fasoli >>
  • Tracking Report: #524 is Found! by Sara Zimorski>>
  • Ask the Expert: Read Laura's Answers! >>
  • Numbers: Whooping Crane Population Totals as of March 31, 2008 >>
  • Connections: Three White Cranes, Two Flyways, One World >>
  • Overview: The Whooping Crane Migration Study >>

#216 gives the unison call. See how his head is thrown back as he calls. (Click to enlarge.)
Photo Colleen Wisinski, ICF

More Whooping Crane Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Whooping Crane Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 25, 2008.