FIRST group to
fly south with the Ultralights!
Codes and Life Histories:
chicks are identified by leg bands. All have radio telemetry attached
to a green/white band on the left
leg above the hock and a metal USFW band on the right
leg below the hock.
Each crane's individual color bands are also on the right leg,
above the hock. The banding color codes by each crane below
can help trackers (or you) identify the cranes.
Read the colored bands
the right legs from top to bottom.
Banding Code: G/R/G
Characteristics: As a chick, definitely ruled
the other birds. Often led by flying directly behind
the wing of the aircraft but was also seen at the end of
Dominant but mellow, and the most costume-friendly of all
the birds in the Class of 2001.
History (Scroll down for latest)
History: Spring 2002: Returned to Necedah in the group
of four who survived the winter, arriving April 19, 2002 after leaving
Florida April 9. Paired up
the summer, hanging around the training site where the 17 new 2002
chicks were being trained to fly with the ultralight.
pair of #101 and #102 astonished
the pilots by showing up and joining with the ultralight chicks and
plane on November 24 as the fall migration covered Tennessee. These
two adult cranes flew five miles with their old stand-in parents
and the Class of 2002 before breaking off to continue on their
winter in Pasco County, Florida (about 20 miles north of the release
Spring 2003: Left Florida on 25 March, 2003
with Crane #102 to migrate north—ahead of any of the tiny Eastern
flock. Arrived at Necedah on
31 and spent
2003 summer there. He and female #102 separated in spring 2003 after
being together since migrating north on their own in spring 2002. Fall
2003: Headed south by himself on November 7, 2003, and
was reported back at his wintering spot in Pasco County, Florida
2004: Left on spring migration March 13 or 14, 2004 together
with #102, 205, 208, 216,
and 217. PTT readings indicated the group roosted in SW Indiana on
March 22, but moved to DeKalb County, IL March 23 and stayed for the
Necedah NWR on April 1, 2004. Male #101 Left the other birds and went
to the refuge
area where he lived in summer 2003.
Fall 2004: He remained
at or near Necedah NWR until Nov. 28, when he left with Crane #202.
The two remained with large numbers of sandhill cranes in frozen, flooded
farm fields in Jasper County, Indiana, until December 16. Then
they moved to nearby Jasper-Pulaski SWFA. They resumed migration Dec.
17. On December 18th they were tracked to roost with approximately
in Monroe County, Kentucky. They completed their migration
Dec. 20, arriving in Pasco County, FL. This is the same wintering location
used by #101 during
his previous two winters.
signs of pair-bonding with female #202, who is one year younger.
2005: Pair 101 and 202 left their Florida winter location
March 12 or 13. Confirmed
back at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin by March 29.
a territory on the refuge. They
remained on their territory except on April 15, when they spent much of
the day away. But on 16 April 16, #202 was sitting as if incubating in
the pair's marsh territory. On April 17 the two birds left
spent the day in farmland south of the refuge. A check of the nest site indicated
that one egg had been
laid, but it had apparently been destroyed during the previous night.
(It is quite
common for first-time breeders to leave the egg unprotected). The pair
did not return to the refuge until April 21.
They stayed the summer on or near their territory
at Necedah NWR.
pair #101 and #202 began
migration November 17 along with #208. On Nov. 30, #101 and his
mate #202 returned to the same Citrus County, Florida area where
at last year.
2006: #101 (and mate #202) left on migration from
Citrus County, FL on March 12. They arrived at Wisconsin's Necedah
NWR on March 18, where they
settled on their old territory. They began incubating on April 7, but
the eggs were lost to a predator by April 16.
Fall 2006: #101 and #202 began migration from their
territory on Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on November 11. They made it
to northeastern Illinois (probably Will or Kankakee County). The
pair resumed migration on 12 November and continued with sandhills
to Jasper-Pulaski SFWA, Indiana. Arrived Citrus County, FL on Nov.
2007: Reported migrating on March 13 with his mate,
#202. He was confirmed back at Necedah NWR on March 26. He was seen
the next two days. Where is his mate, #202? By summer she was still
missing and presumed dead. The refuge helpers and pilots said #101
seemed sad and lonely. He showed up often at the training site to
hang out with
He flew with the ultralight and chicks a few
times but the pilots had to chase him off so the chicks would pay attention
to their costumed parents.
2007: Began migration from Wisconsin on November 22,
2007. Stayed at Jasper-Pulaski FWA in northwestern Indiana until departing
again on November 29. Wintered in Florida.
2008: The first bird from the first year of the reintroduction
was the first of the flock to arrive in spring 2008! He left
Florida on February 29. Flying between 45 and 50 miles per hour,
230 miles and roosted
that night in Georgia. He arrived at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on
March 14, all by himself. Male 101 remained on his territory on
Upper Rice Pool, Necedah NWR, through March 30. On April 1 he was
displaced from his long-held territory
by #307 (who was temporarily with female W601). Male #101 then moved
off the Refuge to the Mill Bluff area of Wisconsin. He occasionally
former territory on Upper Rice Pool.
2008: Began migration from Necedah NWR on November
15, as did several other first cranes to leave. Wintered in Citrus County,
2009: Began migration from Citrus County, Florida, on March
5. Reported back at Necedah NWR in
Wisconsin by March 19! He spent the summer unpaired with
any female (see Spring 2008, above).
2009: Crane #101 was observed on
Necedah NWR, Juneau County, Wisconsin, on December 4 and likely began
migration on the following day. He was reported with 3 sandhills on
his winter area Citrus County, Florida, on December 23.
2010: His nonfunctional transmitter
was replaced on February
25 when he was still at Chassahowitzka NWR.
Now he is trackable! Male #101 began northward migration
March 20 and was detected back on Necedah NWR on March 24.
Fall 2010: Male #101 was detected at his usual wintering
location in Citrus County, Florida, during an aerial survey on December
2011: He apparently began migration on March 8. He was
reported back at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin March 21. By the end of May
he was occasionally associating with female #914. The two were still together the end of August.
Fall 2011: A crane believed to be male #101, with a crane that might have been his new mate #914, was observed on a pond at his wintering
location in Citrus County, Florida, by a neighborhood mother and 12-year-old son on December 5. They had been watching for #101 to return to his usual area. The landowner believes #101 has been coming to the same area for about 5 years. "He used to crack us all up in the neighborhood. The first couple of years the trackers would remove him and relocate him to more suitable habitat with more cranes. He kept coming back here! He likes the Sandhill cranes, especially one certain pair. He chases any others away, including the young ones of the pair. He mostly stays across the street from our home, on a neighbor's property where there's a big pond. When he returns, he flies right over us and calls loudly to announce his arrival. We very much love that Crazy Crane!"
Photo: C. Reichenbach
Spring 2012: Male #101 and and his mate #914 (14-09) were still in Citrus County, FL as of March 1, 2012. Tracker Eva Szyszkoski (ICF) reported them back at their Wisconsin summering territory in Juneau County on March 23. They had probably arrived March 22. The pair built a nest but did not lay any eggs in the 2012 breeding season. They were together on their territory all summer, fall and winter.
Wnter 2012: Male #101 and and his mate #914 (14-09) wintered in Citrus County, Florida—this male's usual wintering spot.
Spring 2013: Male #101 and and his mate #914 (14-09) completed spring migration to Wisconsin on March 29.
Fall 2013: Male 1-01 and mate 14-09 migrated south to Citrus County, Florida for the winter.
Spring 2014: Crane pair 1-01/14-09 began migration from Citrus County, Florida, on 14/15 March. They were reported in Bartow County, Georgia, on 16 March and Larue County, Kentucky, on 21 March. They were back in Wisconsin by May, but male #1-01 chose a poor place to hang around; he was captured at the Volk Field National Guard Base in Juneau County on May 28.
On May 28, 2014, male 1-01 was removed from the population of the new Eastern Migratory Flock because of his repeated and uncorrectable behaviors, which caused hazards to him and also to aircraft using the Volk Field National Guard Base. He will live the rest of his life in safe captivity at Zoo New England in Boston, Massachusetts.
Banding Code: a single red band. PTT
Personality Characteristics: Largest female. Often aggressive and
will sometimes challenge the handlers. Has a damaged beak from injury—the
upper and lower mandibles do not meet at the tip. This makes her recognizable
in the air where she is often in the lead position. Tends
to attack the
vet. Voice is starting to change to adult voice. "Alarm" calls
with slight crackle. Sometimes drops back to fly on Deke's wing.
History: Spring 2002: Returned to Necedah in
the group of four, arriving April 19, 2002 after leaving Florida April
9. Paired up with Crane #101
summer, hanging around the training site where the 17 new HY 02 chicks
were being trained to fly with the ultralight. Pilots and "swamp
monster" drove them off many times. Fall 2002: Astonished
the pilots by showing up with #101 and joining with the ultralight
and plane on
24 in Tennessee. They flew five miles before breaking off to continue
on their own! Spent the 2002-03 winter in Pasco County, Florida (about
20 miles north of the release pen) with Crane #101. Spring 2003: Left
Florida on 25 March with Crane #101 to migrate north—ahead of
any of the
in spring 2003. (As of March 8, 2003, her radio transmitter and PTT had
both stopped functioning so she is no longer trackable.) Confirmed
at Necedah on March 29/April 1, 2003, along with Crane #101 from her
cohort. These two separated later in spring 2003; they had been together
migrating north on their own in spring 2002. Fall
2003: She left Necedah on Nov. 13, along with seven of the 2002
birds. This group
of eight arrived at the pen site at Chassahowitzka November 21, 2003.
During their entire journey south, the group stayed together and was
seen migrating with Sandhill cranes. This
group moved to Pasco County shortly after arriving in FL. Together with
four other birds, she split from the group and moved to the same area
of Pasco Cty. where she spent last winter with male #1 from the 2001
Spring 2004: Left on spring migration March 13 or 14,
together with 101, 205, 208, 216, and 217. PTT readings indicated the
on March 22, but moved to DeKalb County, IL March 23 and stayed for the
rest of the week. Arrived Necedah NWR on April 1, 2004 but later spent
time in Jackson County and elsewhere. Returned to Necedah May 18, where
she is hanging out with #208.
Fall 2004: The pair #102 and #208 began migration
from Necedah NWR on Dec. 1st. Checked and confirmed near the intersection
of Will, Grundy, and Kankakee Counties, Illinois, on Dec. 14th. Detected
in flight just east of Decatur, Alabama on the afternoon of Dec. 23rd.
They arrived at the
site on the afternoon of Dec. 30th. #102 is showing signs of possible
pair-bonding with younger male #208. Spring 2005: #102
and #208 departed on migration from Pasco County, Florida on March 19
and were back at
Necedah on March 31! The pair broke up back at Necedah as soon as they
finished migration. In fall, #102 let the DAR chicks hang out with
her. Will she help these new chicks learn their migration route?
2005: Began migration November 17 with #212. They later
joined whoopers #203
and#317, and #301 and #311 in flight. They
roosted on a pond in Will County,
Illinois. The group migrated Nov. 18 to a point SW of Indianapolis,
Indiana. They remain in Marion County, IN since Nov. 26. The
pair arrived on a ranch in Pasco County, Florida on December 22.
They hung out with #105,
#204, #208, #205 and #313, particularly on roost at night. They were
often with or near large groups
of migratory sandhill cranes.
2006: Crane #102 (together with #208 and #212) began
migration from a cattle ranch in Pasco County, Florida on February
were reported in Greene County, Indiana, from March 7-12. Crane #102
and #212 arrived at their Wisconsin
summer home March 18 or 19 and are on territory. Then #102 left
on March 25. She was confirmed in Adams County, WI April 17 in the same
general area where she was found in April of 2005.
2006: Left Wisconsin on Nov. 19 and made it to Indiana that
night. After she arrived in Florida, she stayed
at the Chassahowitza pen site until December 27 but then left for
other winter territory in Citrus County.
and #216 March 24, 2007 in Illinois.
2007: Began migration March 5 (with #216). They were
confirmed back at the Wisconsin refuge on March 26, but separated.
(On that day, Crane #102 was unison calling and doing territorial behavior
with #307, who was one of the first arrivals back
on the refuge.) After the new "Class of 2007" ultrralight chicks arrived
in Wisconsin,#102 showed up almost daily at the chicks’ pen site.
2007: Began migration from Wisconsin on November 22, 2007. Found
at Greene County, Indiana, on November 24. Still present when last
checked at the end of December.
2008: apparently began migration from
Green County, Indiana, on March 2. She was confirmed back
at Necedah NWR, on March 23.
12, 2008 the decomposed remains of #102 were found
near the edge of a marsh on Necedah NWR. She was likely killed
by a predator. She
had been in the area all spring, unlike
previous years when she usually spent spring in nearby Adams County.
She was frequently observed until mid-July. At that time,
pair #211 and #217 moved in on her from their usual territory during
changes due to construction on the refuge. The pair drove #201 off
her territory. Experts think
#211/217 displaced her to a nearby marsh. Tracking
data are being examined to determine approximate date of death.
Banding Code: white/red/green
Personality Characteristics: A
good bird in that he was unremarkable and no problem.
2001 wind storm during first journey south. The pen was knocked down by
high winds and the escaped bird hit a power line while flying in the
Banding Code: red/white/green
Personality Characteristics: Also
has a funny beak, though not as funny as #102.
Has recovered from earlier training wing injury. Can fly well but
a bad habit
out of the formation and encourages Crane #106 to leave too. Not allowed
to fly again on the first migration south due to this behavior and the
fear he would
lead other birds astray. Travels in a shipping container to each site but
spends the remainder of each day and night with his flock mates. The flight
hopes this bonding will help him fly north with the flock in spring
December 17, 2001 by a bobcat after being on the Chassahowitzka wintering
grounds just a few days.
Banding Code: white/red/green
Characteristics: As a chick, got
very aggressive when anyone other than Dan entered the pen.
(He was fine with Dan.) Second most dominant bird and definitely
the "policeman" of the Class. He approached and checked
anyone that entered the pen. Often aggressive to handlers that
wore different shoes or boots. If a handler held the puppet
in a submissive position, #105 challenged it. Dropped out of
the ultralight southbound migration flight between sites 11
and 12 but was retrieved. Successfully completed the ultralight-led
migration and learned the route.
to Necedah in the group of four, arriving April 19, 2002 after leaving
Florida April 9. Migrated to Florida in fall 2002 and
spent the winter in the pen at Chassahowitzka with the new 2002 chicks
that migrated in year two of the ultralight project. He turned into a
of a bully.
2003: Departed Chassahowitzka with the sixteen 2002 chicks on
spring migration April
stayed with several of the 2002 chicks throughout the migration north.
Spent summer 2003 about 10-12 miles from Necedah, in the company of three
2002 females (#204, #209, and #218) and returned to the Refuge the last
in October 2003.
2003: Trackers found him flying with younger cranes #204 and
#218 on Nov. 20, 2003 while the birds were
flight over Georgia. In an unusual event, they flew after
dark, roosting in SW Georgia. On November 21, 2003, these three landed
Chassahowitzka. They later flew to Hernando County, but returned on Jan.
8, 2004 to the pen site. They settled in and harassed the Class of
chicks in the pen, defending and taking over a feeding station!
#214 showed up at the pen site on Feb. 7, 2004, the three older birds
there did more unison calling and chased her, too.
Spring 2004: Left
on spring migration March 27, 2004, together with #218 and #204. They
were tracked and landed to roost in Crisp Cty, GA nearly 9 hours later.
Stopped overnight in Indiana April 1. Confirmed back at Necedah (with
#204 and #218) on April 7, 2004.
Fall 2004: Reported at Hiwassee State Wildlife Refuge
in Meigs County, TN Nov. 10 and remained there (in bad
weather) until at least Nov.
24. Observed at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife
Florida on Nov. 26. Checked in at the pen site but moved on after
finding nobody home and no free food. Together with Crane #204, he remained
on a cattle ranch in Hernando County, FL until Dec. 17, when the pair
returned to the pen site at Chassahowitzka NWR. These two have been together
since #204's first spring migration. Will they become mates?
2005: Left Chassahowitzka pen site in Florida,
along with #204 and the remaining chick #412 on March 30. No aggression
by the two older cranes toward the younger one, reported ICF trackers
the trio at their first night roost in Georgia. On April 5 the two adults
left juvenile #412. On April 6, #105 and #204 completed migration to
Mill Bluff State Park, Juneau County, Wisconsin. On April 7 the pair
moved to their territory on Necedah NWR.
Fall 2005: On Aug. 22, Cranes #105 and #204 moved
from their territory on Sprague Pool (Necedah NWR) to Mill Bluff State
Park, WI. This was
from their territory since May 20. They stayed in the park and were
often with other whooping cranes in the area. The pair began migration
on November 21. They were seen at their last year's winter home on a
ranch in Hernando County, FL on Nov. 27. They continued to the chick
pen at Chassahowitzka NWR but left Nov. 30, returning to their former
ranch site. The pair returned to Chassahowitzka
Dec. 14 from nearby Stafford Lake and remained to
roost at the pen site. They moved around a bit, staying in nearby counties, and
were on a Pasco County ranch with a few other whoopers by end of December.
migration (with #204) March 20-22. No reports received during
migration. They were found back on their territory
on Necedah NWR, on April 6.
#105 with #602 at the Florida pen site in January, 2007.
Photo Bev Paulan, OM
2006: Left Wisconsin on Nov. 19 (with #204 and #205)
and made it to NE Illinois. Found in Hernando County, FL on Nov.
24 with #204. He
appeared alone at the Chassahowitzka pen site on Jan 8 and stayed. His
mate, #204, was found dead on Jan. 16, 2007 in Hernando County.
in a Pen! The
winter of 2007, #105 was a regular visitor to the pen site, as though
keeping watch over the
chicks. After the death of his mate and the Feb. 2 storm deaths
of the 17 chicks at the pen site, he kept dropping
in on "Peepers," a captive female whooping crane at
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Was he looking
for a new mate, or a free lunch? The team captured #105 on Feb.
him to a pen with a top net at the Halpata Preserve until they
can figure out what to do with him. Guess who's in the pen next
at Halpata? Survivor chick #615, also taken there for his safety.
Some people are calling the two cranes Flirty
and Maverick. Guess which
Again. On Feb. 23, 105's radio transmitter's broken antenna
was replaced. Two
days later, Dr. Richard Urbanek (USF&W) and Sara Zimorski (ICF), co-chairs
of the Tracking & Monitoring
Team, released #105 from the Halpata-Tastanaki Preserve and he was taken
to the Paynes Prairie area for release. He remained there with several other
Whooping cranes that were currently stopping
there. (Before #105's release, the two captive birds at Homosassa State
Park were removed from open display just in case he decided to re-visit
in search of food or a lady friend.)
2007: Began migration on March
28 with #519. They were in Georgia on March
29. They arrived Apr. 16 on #105's old territory
at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR!
2007: Began migration
from Wisconsin on November 21. Arrived on Hiwassee WR in
Tennessee, on November 24. Arrived at Chassahowitzka NWR pen site
in Florida, on November 28. Moved to Stafford Lake, Hernando County,
on the following day. He was the third bird of the Eastern flock
to complete fall migration. Returned to Chass pen site Dec. 12 but
moved to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park on Dec. 13 because
he was attracted to the resident female crane on display there — just
like last winter! Trackers immediately captured him and took him
to the pen
site at Halpata-Tastanaki Preserve. Three days later they transported
#105 to Hiwassee WR in Meigs County, Tennessee, because almost all
the Eastern flock
there. He was still at Hiwassee (Tennessee) at the end of December.
Everyone hopes he'll choose a "girlfriend" from among those
females so he doesn't go back to the female who lives in captivity
at the Homosassa Springs
Wildlife State Park! When observed in late winter, he was associating
2008: Male #105 and female #420 were reported in a flock
of sandhills in Warren County, Kentucky, from March 6 until they
on March 8. Confirmed home at Necedah NWR March 30, but trackers reported
on April 8 that the pair bond established during
the winter between 105 and 420 had dissolved; they separated during
or at the end of migration. On April 10 male #105 was seen with female
#501. They occasionally returned to the territory
of #105 on Sprague Pool.
2008: Left Necedah NWR Nov. 20 with mate #501. The
pair arrived together at Hernando County, Florida by December
27. Both had nonfunctional transmitters and could not be tracked.
The pair was
observed at the Chassahowitzka NWR pensite January 18. On January
20 they appeared at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park,
where two captive Whooping cranes live. They were captured and
transferred (again!) to the Marion County Halpata-Tastanaki
Preserve pen site. Their old transmitter batteries
were replaced on January 21, 2009. The pair were then crated,
transported, and released in Alachua County, FL on January
22. They returned to Hernando County January 30 only to reappear
at the Chass pen site the following day — and found the
Class of 2008 had arrived!
The next morning, February 1, they returned to the Homosassa
and were again captured and transported to the Halpata pen
site. This time they were taken to Meigs County, Tennessee,
where they were released on February 4.
2009: Cranes #105, 501, 506, and DAR 37-07 were
confirmed by radio signal near Armstrong Bend, Tennessee on
March 8. Male #105
was confirmed back at Necedah (with mate #501) by the end of
March or beginning
of April. As far as experts can tell, this is #105's first
nesting, even though he's often been
during breeding seasons before. The nest failed on April 24
before the eggs could hatch. The pair remained together in
the area all summer, but their pair bond ended after September
26 when #316 stole 105's mate away from him. Crane #105 found
himself alone again — but
only until October 26 when #105 returned to him two days after
2009: Together again, #105 and his previous mate,
#501, began migration Nov. 26 and were found at Hiwassee Wildlife
in Tennessee, on November 29. They
stayed six weeks. The pair landed in February at their old
pen site at Chass, where the new chicks live. The trackers
seeing #105 show up. Why? He has a history of going
to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to visit the captive
Whooping crane pair there. Last year, he took #501 there with
him. For trackers, that event would mean they must AGAIN capture
this male (and his mate). Trackers hope he won't
try a visit to Homosassa Springs
|Preening on Florida wintering grounds
||Pair #105 and #501 unison
calling in Florida before a bobcat killed her in March
Photos: Eva Syszkoski, ICF
2010: Adult pair #105 and #501 and the nine remaining
chicks at Chass were beginning to show signs of migration restlessness
on March 13. Eva said, "We are not sure if the adult
pair will entice the chicks to leave earlier then they would
otherwise. We would expect#105 and #501 to be leaving
at any time, as they will want to get back to Necedah NWR to
establish their territory on the refuge for nesting season. It
was a sad discovery when the remains of his mate #501 were
found at a roost site. She had been killed by a bobcat
there the night of March 18. Male #105 left the Chass pen area
on migration on March 27! He was alone, and was tracked on
day one to Colquitt County, GA by Matt. The trackers will need
to turn their attention now to the chicks, but #105 was off
to a good start. On April 1 he was detected back on his territory
at Sprague Pool, Necedah NWR! He was with female #914 during
2010: Male #105 was found at Hiwassee WR in Tennessee
on November 28, where he remained at least through Dec. 2. He
was next reported in Hernando County during an aerial survey
on December 21. He roosted
at the Chassahowitzka pen site on January 7. But on January 8,
2011 this 9-year-old
male once again dropped in on the female crane
called Peepers, who lives at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State
Park in Florida. He can't seem to stay away from her. So he was captured
from the wild.
Now he will live in captivity with Peepers at
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
in Florida. The park houses animals for
display and education. Here's
a summary from when the trouble began:
had been looking for love since winter 2007, when his first mate
found dead on the pair's Florida wintering grounds. He kept dropping
in on "Peepers," a captive female whooping crane at
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. In 2009,
he lost a second soulmate when a bobcat killed her. Still,
he remembered Peepers. But each
time flew to the park (SIX times in all!), he had to be captured
and removed for the safety of park visitors and also himself.
On some visits he even landed in the bears' enclosure! With
his January 2011 visits, WCEP leaders knew they had
to change things.
They decided to remove nine-year-old #5 from
wild population for three reasons: his repeated visits
and the trouble he
for the tracking
at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park; his
large number of male cranes
already in the flock's wild population.
#5 (now called "Levi") and Peepers in June 2011
Photo: Susan Lowe
must really love Peepers," said Eva, the tracker who
often had to capture and relocate #5. Now he will get to
stay with Peepers.
Because #105 is totally healthy, experts feel he will
form a better bond
with Peepers than
Rocky*, the male companion crane in the enclosure with her until now. Crane #105 will now be known as "Levi" and will take Rocky's place with
Peepers. "Crane 105 looks great and is happy to be allowed with
Peepers. It seems the feeling is mutual,” reported Wildlife
Care Supervisor Susan Lowe.
*Rocky is a friend — but not a mate. A throat
condition makes it hard for Rocky to make
crane calls, and crane
calling is an important part of bonding for
Whooping crane pairs.
Banding Code: red/green/red
Personality Characteristics: Dropped out of the flight on the first
day with Crane #104
but managed to complete the flight after much effort
from pilots Deke and Bill. Also dropped out of the flight between sites
10 and 11 and was finally retrieved the next day.
to Necedah in the group of four survivors, arriving April 19, 2002
Florida April 9. Migrated south in Fall 2002 and stayed
at Hiwassee Refuge in Tennessee for several weeks before finishing
his migration. Arrived
in Florida January 4, 2003, briefly joining sandhill cranes and female
Crane #107 in Madison County Florida before moving a few miles away
them. He departed Madison Co. FL on Feb. 15, 2002 and was seen flying
over southern Georgia among a flock of Sandhill cranes. Trackers
lost him until he was spotted by ICF Intern Colleen Satyshur on March
26, 2003 in Dodge County, Wisconsin. Colleen said: "After so many
reports coming in from birders and refuge biologists, it was exciting
to finally confirm the sightings of #106. I followed #106 south in the
fall, so it was like old times tracking him again." Then his radio
antenna broke so he could not be tracked. After departing
Necedah Refuge on
10, 2003, wasn't seen again until the last week of October. He was
back at Necedah, and left on fall 2004 migration on
November 7. He was staging with sandhill cranes
in Columbia County, WI on Nov. 19, and was seen again arriving late
on Nov. 20 at the Jasper Pulaski State Fish and Wildlife Area in north
He showed up Jan 3, 2004 in Alachua County, FL. Spring 2004: He
left Alachua Cty. FL on Feb. 23, 2004 and his location, as well as
until March 9, 2004. He was seen migrating over Gainesville, FL with
a flock of sandhill cranes. March 13 he was observed in a flock of
migrating through Monroe County, Indiana. On March 18 a whooper (#106)
was spotted flying east to west over Interstate 94 at mile marker
a day when it was snowing gangbusters at Necedah NWR. On March 21 and
22, #106 was confirmed back in Wisconsin, the first to return
2003 AND spring 2004. He stayed in Jackson County in summer 2004.
Fall 2004: Began migration from southeastern
Clark/northeastern Jackson Counties, Wisconsin, on November 21. He was
spotted on a cattle ranch in Lake County, Florida, on December 13.
He remained there with migratory sandhill cranes
as well as some of the non-migratory
Whooping cranes that live there
year round. In February he moved to Levy County and then to Alachua
County, with migratory sandhill cranes. Spring 2005: A
crane believed to be #106 was reported with migrating sandhill cranes
in Meigs County,
TN on 7 March. Local residents of Jackson County, Wisconsin reported
observing him since March 30. He was
seen paired and nest building with a sandhill crane on April 9. (He has
associated mainly with sandhill cranes. The small size (five returning
birds) of this 2001 cohort resulted in limited chances for social bonding
by the first individuals (#107 and #106) to separate from the group.
When checked on 22 April, #106 was found hidden and alone in a wet
area in the edge of a woods near his territory. He had fractured his
left tarsus sometime between April 12 and 22. Because he was unable to
bear weight on the
leg, he remained
secluded in woody cover and was not roosting in water. The monitoring
team watched him closely through a spotting scope. They wanted to see
food could be provided without disturbing the bird or attracting predators
(wolves, coyotes). In some cranes, fractures have healed without human
all hoped #106's leg
heal by itself. He was last observed alive on April 29. On May
3, 2005 crane #106 was found dead in a wetland at the
edge of a wooded area in Jackson County, Wisconsin. He had been killed
by a predator, most likely within 2 days before his
remains were discovered. This was the 9th death among 53 birds
released during the first 4 years of the reintroduction. Six of those
mortalities happened within 2004-2005.
Banding Code: white/red
Characteristics: Subservient bird that dropped out between
stopover #5 and #6 and between stopover #11 and #12 of the
ultralight-led migration. She was retrieved and completed the
migration just fine. She kept to herself and was "low
bird" in the pecking order. Later, she became elusive
Florida April 12 in the flock of 5 survivors, but split off over
to continue the
by herself. She was last to arrive back at the Necedah site: May 3,
2002. She spent the 2002 summer about 75 miles from Necedah, in
of sandhill cranes. Fall 2002: She was the first of
this group to migrate to Florida, arriving at her old pen November
lived with sandhill cranes in Madison County, Florida for the winter.
Spring 2003: She left Florida sometime between Feb.
18 and March 1, 2002. She returned
for summer 2003 to her favorite place at Wisconsin's Horicon National
Wildlife Refuge. Fall 2003: She was identified November
16 at Hiwassee Refuge in
TN, and again (still at Hiwassee) Nov. 21, along with female crane
#201. Spring 2004: She was not seen
again until March 12, 2004, when the
Kaldenbachs of Roane County, TN reported a sighting and sent a photo
to Operation Migration (see our News
Flash.) She has a nonfunctional transmitter so cannot be tracked.
She seems to like playing hide and seek! Identified by her color
with 4 sandhill cranes in Starke County, Indiana (near the Jasper-Pulaski
State Wildlife Area) on March 26, 2004. Seen on March 27 with sandhills
in Cook County, Illinois. Confirmed "home" April 11, 2004 at
Horicon Refuge in Wisconsin, where she spent the two previous summers. She
because of a dead battery in her transmitter. Fall
Nov. 8 the elusive, untrackable #107 was found— thanks to
the radio signal
of crane #418 detected in flight. As the airborne tracking team
amid a flock
they also noticed another Whooping crane—#107—in the
flock! Young #418, who
was unable to make the first migration with his ultralight flock,
had joined up with these other migrating cranes. However,
again, as roost time neared, 418 landed along the Cumberland River
in Tennessee, while 107 continued slightly farther downstream. Both
stayed at their selected locations on Nov. 9th due to poor migration
conditions. Crane #107 was at Hiwassee State Wildlife
Refuge in Meigs County, TN on Nov. 10, with several other "ultra-whoopers" from
the new Eastern flock. On
Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge with
a wintering Sandhill flock
most of the winter, but a possible sighting of #107 took place in
Hardin County, Kentucky in early March 2005. Spring 2005: She
turned up at her usual summer home—Horicon
National Wildlife Refuge in
Dodge County, WI—on
March 14, 2005. But on April 13, she was confirmed in a sedge marsh
20 miles east of Necedah
was in a group containing whooping crane #102 and four sandhill
Until now, Crane #107 had not been at Necedah NWR since May 4,
completing her first spring migration. After
hanging out with #102 and some sandhill cranes
for the next
weeks, she was spotted back at the Horicon Marsh in the territory
she has occupied for the last four summers. Joe Duff pointed out, "It
is interesting to note that as she approached breeding maturity
return close to the
Necedah area. It is almost as if the urge to find a mate brought
her back, but it was not strong enough to bring her all the way
home. We will have to see what happens next (2006) breeding season." She
apparently remained on Horicon NWR and nearby farm fields all summer. Due to a broken
transmitter, she can't be tracked.
2005: Confirmed visually at Jasper-Pulaski
Indiana, November 17. This is a major stopver area for migrating eastern
sandhill cranes, and about 15,000 sandhills were there on this date.
She was next reported at the
end of November at Hiwassee NWR (TN), when the 2005 ultralight chicks
and other cranes were also there. She was seen again on Hiwassee
Wildlife Refuge, Meigs County, on January 5, 2006, Feb. 1 and again
on Feb. 8. A whooping crane believed to be #107 was reported with
large numbers of migrating
on 15 February 15! Her transmitter is nonfunctional, and
she cannot be tracked.
2006: She apparently began migration in mid-February from
her wintering area at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee. She
was reported on March 9 in Indiana, with migrating
sandhill cranes. A crane in IL on March 11 may have been #107 and
a reported crane in WI March 15-20 could have been #107. Confirmed
17 in Adams County, WI. Along with #102, she was in the same general
area where both birds
were found in April of 2005. They were not together, and #102 tried
several times unsuccessfully to chase #107 from the field. So far,
107 has summered alone each year in the Horicon, WI area. She has
not been electronically
tracked since her transmitter stopped working in April 2003. A
banded whooping crane believed to be #107 was reported in a large
sandhill flock near Horicon NWR in Dodge County, WI on October 13.
#107 apparently began migration from Wisconsin's Horicon NWR area
and arrived at Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife area on October 28.
Her transmitter does not work, and she cannot be tracked. This
photo shows her (far right) on Nov. 12 among staging sandhill
cranes in Jackson County, Indiana. She was near direct-autumn-release
chicks #26-06 and #28-06! These
3 cranes, all from the new eastern flock, did not associate. She
was there on Dec. 7, but in January an unidentified crane reported
from Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Meigs County,
Tennessee, may have been #107.
2007: An unconfirmed sighting
2 in Fond du Lac County, WI may have been #107. Trackers
think she migrated from her wintering area in TN, but her transmitter
nonfunctional so visual sightings are all they can rely upon. On March
26 she was reported in a Marsh in Adams County, WI.
2007: She spent the summer with Sandhill cranes in
Wisconsin on Horicon NWR and nearby farm fields in Dodge County.
She left Wisconsin
after November 18. A bird with no signal was observed at Hiwassee WR on
November 28, and this may have been 107. On Dec. 2 she was confirmed
in another part of Meigs County, Tennessee. She was still there at
the end of December.
2008: She was reported with migrating sandhills on
Indiana's Muscatatuck NWR on February 26. Next reported with
migrating sandhills in Starke County, Indiana, March 8-11. She arrived
back at her usual summering grounds on Horicon NWR in Dodge County,
on March 27! By April 3
she had returned to Adams County, and on April
5 she was observed associating with #506 at that location. The romance
may be tabled, however, because a Whooping crane believed to be
#107 was reported near Horicon NWR, Fond
du Lac and Dodge Counties, in early June.
2008: She was with sandhills in Adams County Wisconsin on
October 16, and next found at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee
on November 26. Last confirmed there on January 10, 2009. This appears
to be her usual wintering area. (Her transmitter does not work so
2009: She was reported on a migration stopover in Jasper
County, Indiana during March 10-15. An unconfirmed report at Horicon
NWR in Dodge County, WI, if accurate, may have been of #107. Great
news came when this lone female temporarily paired up with
male #506 in Adams County (see spring 2008, above). Would they mate
so #107 would finally nest
eggs? They were together by May 2 but, alas, separated
by May 12. By May 20, female#107 returned to a previous summer location
NWR in Wisconsin's
Fond du Lac County. It was another summer with no mate and no chicks.
2009: She was still at
Horicon NWR, Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties, on November 25 but she
was on her wintering area at Armstrong Bend, Meigs County, Tennessee,
2010: She was reported near Armstrong Bend in
Rhea County, Tennessee, on March 17 and confirmed back in Wisconsin
April 18. She was found in Adams county with #506 and HY2009 DAR
32, 37, and 40.
She was last reported May 2, NE of Horicon NWR in Fond du Lac County, WI.
2010: Still no news since May 2,
when she was at Horicon NWR in Wisconsin. She has a nonfunctional
cannot be tracked.
2011: Still no news since May 2, 2010, when she was
at Horicon NWR in Wisconsin. She has a nonfunctional
cannot be tracked.
In July of 2011, 14 months had passed without #107, the
oldest female in the population, being detected. She
#9: (109) DID NOT MIGRATE WITH HER COHORT
Personality Characteristics: Injured her wing during early training
while still at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Wing feathers grew in
with deformities so she wasn't suitable for migration. Removed
from the study, she went to the New Orleans Audubon Zoo in
fall, 2001. The
public can see
Crane #109 on display.
Banding Code: white/green/red
Personality Characteristics: Most subservient bird in
the group; not aggressive to the costume. Has been seen in the lead position
during flight, but is also known to occupy last position. Killed
by a bobcat in January 2002, just weeks after arriving in Florida.
Personality Characteristics: A good bird, loyal
to the plane and the costume during training. Died
September 11, 2001 shortly before migration from capture
myopathy after the pre-migration health check and banding procedure
earlier on that infamous day: 9/11/01.
North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible
by the Whooping Crane Eastern