Meet the New 2002 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2002 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 218 (18-02)

Date Hatched

May 21 , 2002



Pre-migratory Weight: 5.8 kg

Egg Source: ICF




radio transmitter

She was captured in Nov. 2010 and her color bands changed to the code shown above

  • Read about the naming system, hatch place in Maryland, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering site in Florida, and leg-band codes.


Personality and History

Personality Characteristics: One of the two youngest in the flock. She is small and very bonded to the ultralight. Can be quite fiery at times towards handlers and flock mates, but not often. Dan says she's cute and cries a lot and is another favorite because of her small size.


Fall 2002: Successfully finished her first journey south behind ultralight plane.

Spring 2003: Successfully completed first migration north in spring 2003, leaving Florida in a group of 15 (included one 2001 bird) and arriving Wisconsin April 13. Spent the summer about 10-12 miles from the Necedah Refuge with #204 and #209 and returned to the Refuge the last week of October, 2003.

Fall 2003: Migrating together, 218, 105, and 204 were found by trackers while in flight Nov. 20 over Georgia. They flew after dark, roosting in SW Georgia. On November 21 the group of three landed at the pen site at Chassahowitzka, migration complete! They later flew to Hernando County, but returned on Jan. 8, 2004 to the pen site to create trouble. They harassed the new arrivals (young 2003 chicks) in the pen and defended and took over a feeding station.

Spring 2004: Left on spring migration March 27, together with #105 and #204. They landed to roost in Crisp County, GA at 6:15 that evening. Stopped overnight in Indiana April 1. Confirmed back at Necedah on April 7, 2004 with #105 and #204.

Fall 2004: Began migration Nov 21. The trio of #209, 213 & 218 remained in a flooded area in Franklin County, TN as their wintering grounds.

Spring 2005: Began migration with #209 and 213 from Franklin County, TN on March 21. Confirmed back at Necedah NWR in WI by March 29. The pair #218 and #213 began building a nest near the site 2 training area! However, the nest was never completed and no eggs appeared. This pair moved between the refuge and the Mill Bluff area but stayed on their territory at Necedah NWR most of the time.

Fall 2005: Began migration Nov. 17 with mate #213. On Nov. 23 they were back in Franklin County, TN, where they spent the winter of 2004.

Spring 2006: Observed with #213 on March 14, and they probably began migration soon after. They were observed March 19 on their territory at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin and building a nest by the end of March. They began incubating by April 6! Like good parents, they diligently tended the nest—but that changed on April 24. They left the nest for several hours. Experts rescued the eggs and replaced them with a dummy egg. Photo and story here. The eggs became the Eastern flocks FIRST CHICKS!

Fall 2006: Despite a mass migration of a total of 28 Whooping Cranes from Wisconsin on Nov. 19,#218 and mate 213 reamined behind. But they successfully migrated south and were seen on their usual winter territory in Franklin County, Tennessee in December. They later moved to Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

Spring 2007: Completed migration (with #213) to Necedah NWR on March 23. They built at least three nests at different locations in their territory during but none were successful. This egg was incubated in captivity and hatched into chick #717 for the Classs of 2007 ultralight-led chicks!

Fall 2007: Pair #213 and #218 left Wisconsin on November 22. Reported in Gibson County, Indiana, on November 24. Found on a wildlife refuge in Morgan County, Alabama, on November 28 and were still there at the end of December.

Spring 2008: This pair was visually confirmed back at Necedah NWR by March 30, when they were seen challenging mates #309 and #403 for that pair's territory. On April 8 or 9, pair #218 and #213 began incubating on their new nest. On May 6 they abandoned their nest after a surge of warm weather. Their one good egg was saved and brought to ICF and then to Patuxent, where it hatched and became #805 for the Class of 2008 utralight-led chicks. (The pair has not yet successfully nested and hatched an egg in the wild dby themselves.)

Photo ICF Trackers
May 6: Abandoned nest, 1 egg
Photo Richard Urbanek, ICF

Fall 2008: Began migration from Wisconsin on November 17, along with mate 213 and 12 other Whooping cranes. A week later pair #218 and #213 (along with a third crane) were on their wintering territory in Alabama!

Spring 2009: Pair #218 and #213 (and #524) likely began migration between March 9 and 13. Pair #218 and #213 were reported in Warrick County, Indiana on the morning of March 15. Confirmed at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on March 19! They were observed nest building N on the evening of April 5. Began incubation April 16. Nest failed April 24.

When the Class of 2009 ultralight chicks had arrived and were training with the ultralight plane, #213 and #218 often came to watch and call and try to get close to the chicks. They seemed captivated by the chicks. The adult pair was NOT afraid of the "costume" that tried to scare them off just in case they might get aggressive with the chicks, or tempt the chicks to pay more attention to them than to the plane or costume.

Fall 2009: Crane #218 and mate #213 Crane #213 and mate #218 wintered at a national wildlife refuge in Morgan County, Alabama.

Spring 2010: Pair 213/218 began migration from Alabama some time after March 6. Two birds believed to be #213 and 218 were seen on/near their Wisconsin territory on March 15, and two days later the signal of #213 was detected. They are among the first arrivals back for the spring nesting season. All fingers are crossed for this pair to nest successfully. They were observed on a nest during an aerial survey on April 5! They later abandoned the nest and it failed, but tracker Eva discovered the pair on a new nest on May 8! The pair was still incubating those eggs on May 28 and everyone is hoping there will be chicks! As of June 13 the pair was still taking turns sitting on their one egg. The nest was expected to hatch five days ago. The egg is suspected to be infertile or non-viable.

Fall 2010: Crane names hereafter follow the naming conventions of WCEP: Migrating pair #18-02 (#218) and #13-02 (#213) were found in Will County, Illinois, on the afternoon of November 26, where they stayed at least through Dec. 2.

Spring 2011: Left Morgan County, Alabama wintering area after March 7 with mate 213. They completed migration to Necedah NWR area by March 21. The pair was incubating on their nest by April 12 but the nest failed about Apr. 30 and the pair was observed feeding in an area off the refuge on May 2.

Fall 2011: Crane #218 and mate #13-02 (#213) migrated to Alabama's Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and spent winter there.

Spring 2012: Crane #18-02 (#218) and mate #13-02 (#213) were detected arriving back at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on March 11, a perfect migration day. They were found with a nest on April 11! The chick was due to hatch on May 10. The pair were seen May 16 with a chick (#W5-12). Chick W5-12 survived until July 24, 2012.

Fall 2012: Crane #18-02 and mate #13-02 began migration Oct. 31 and winterred at their usual location on Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

Spring 2013: Crane #18-02 and mate #13-02 were detected arriving back at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on March 30. They soon had a nest together, but the nest failed and the pair did not re-nest this summer.

Fall 2013: Crane #18-02 and mate #13-02 began migration Oct. 23 and winterred at their usual location on Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

Spring 2014: The first whoopers to be spotted in Wisconsin this spring were Crane #13-02 and mate #18-02! They were observed March 17 in Rock County, Wisconsin, foraging with a group of sandhills in a muddy field, and confirmed back at Necedah NWR on March 28, although they had likely arrived by the 24th.

Fall 2014: Crane #18-02 and mate #13-02 began migration from Necedah on November 8th and spent winter at Wheeler NWR, Alabama.

Spring 2015: Female #18-02, who has a nonfunctional transmitter, had likely returned with her mate #13-02 by mid March; her mate was seen during a March 25 aerial survey flight by Wisconsin DNR pilot Bev Paulan. The pair was later observed on an active nest, but the nest failed.

Fall 2016: Crane #18-02 and mate #13-02 migrated in November to their usual wintering range at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Morgan County, Alabama.

Spring 2017: Female #18-02 and mate #13-02 returned to their Wisconsin territory and were nesting by April 5.


Last updated: 4/10/17

Back to "Meet the Flock 2002"


Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).