Spring 2017 News
Looking Back 2001-2015

Babies Hatching!
May 8, 2017 by Jane Duden

The first Whooping Crane chicks of the season are born. All but one juvenile in the Class of 2016 are back in Wisconsin. Welcome to all of them!

Pair 5-11 and 12-11 and their two new chicks!
First chicks of the season in Wisconsin's eastern flock
By Beverly Paulan, May 2017

Migration Complete for Most of the Flock
Most of the Whooping Cranes of the eastern migratory flock were confirmed in Wisconsin by the beginning of May. Seven of the eight juveniles in the Class of 2016 are back, too! Only #31-16 is still out. He's in Illinois, making us wonder: Will he stay there, or will he return to Wisconsin? We'll let you know.

Babies are Hatching!
The first week in May also brought joyous news of the flock's first hatches of the season:

  • Two chicks hatched for wild adult pair #12-11 and 5-11. The new family was spotted by Wisconsin DNR pilot Bev Paulan on May 3 during her aerial survey. The chicks are named W1-17 and W2-17. (The "W" stands for wild.)
  • Chick W3-17 was hatched to wild adult pair 42-09 and 24-09.

We're eagerly waiting for pair #3-14 and #4-12 to be parents, too. They were still incubating on the evening of May 7. If the egg in their nest is viable (fertile and living), it should be ready to hatch any minute. Keep watch on the nest cam! But as you do, please keep in mind:

"We want everyone watching to understand that we have taken every precaution to conceal the camera, hide our activities and and minimize disturbances. We, too, are observers only. Although these cranes were introduced here by un-natural means, this part of their life cycle is natural and needs to run its course. If these birds are to survive in the wild, they will have to adapt to predators, weather, changes in water levels and competition for territories. That means we will not intervene and you may witness occurrences you prefer not to see. In that case, we suggest you turn off your computer." — Joe Duff, Operation Migration

More Chicks Ahead
By the first of May, aerial surveys had confirmed 24 nests in Juneau, Adams, Marathon, St. Croix, and Green Lake counties in Wisconsin. There are currently five active first nests and two active re-nests. Four nests failed from natural causes, and eggs from 13 nests were collected as a part of the forced re-nesting experiment, now in its third and final year. Chicks hatched from these eggs will be released into the Eastern Migratory Population in the fall of 2017. The pairs whose first nests failed will likely begin a second nest sometime in May, and hatch chicks after 30 days of incubation. Good luck to all these wonderful whoopers!


See bio pages for details about each of the cranes.
Whooping Crane Nest Cam

Nest Cam on 3-14, 4-12
Operation Migration

Pair #42-09 and #24-09 with new chick W3-17

W3-17 and Parents
Beverly Paulan

Operation Migration's goal is to raise enough money to get five GSM remote tracking units for the young cranes in the Class of 2017. To help:
Fundraising Campaign for Whooping Cranes