Photo: Operation Migration
Meet the Whooping Crane Class of 2004!
Hatch-year 2004 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 401 (#1-04)

Date Hatched

April 20 , 2004



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

June 16, 2004

Permanent Leg Bands


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

Personality and History

Migration Training: Introduced to the trike at 8-days of age. Received 6 hrs & 24 min. of aircraft conditioning while at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) Followed the trike well from the start, and also did well when left alone. Very small bird and rather submissive. Loves the costume and is a bit clingy around it. Follows and begs for treats.

Spring 2005:
Left on first journey north with the group of 11 on 25 March, 2005 after 103 days on wintering grounds. After flying through Georgia and veering as far east as South Carolina, the flock corrected their course, stopping in Indiana before reaching Wisconsin. Still together, the group of 11 entered Wisconsin the evening of April 4.
 On April 6 the group of 11 split. Chick #401 stayed with 407, 408 and 414. They returned to their previous roost in Fond du Lac County, WI and were gone when the site was checked on April 7. They were next seen April 14 during an aerial search in Winnebago County, Illinois, in a harvested cornfield 1 mile south of the Wisconsin border. They roosted at this location and foraged in cornfields on both sides of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line until 25 April when they proceeded northward to roost in Adams County, WI---27 miles from Necedah NWR. On April 27 they completed migration to Necedah NWR, then flew to nearby Yellow River Cranberry, just east of the Refuge, to join #312 and #316. They stayed there several days, but #401,#407 and #408 departed the area on May 3 (after #414 was killed by a large predator the night of May 2). On May 9 and 10, they were confirmed in southeastern Wisconsin. These three flew into southeastern Minnesota in mid June in wandering behavior that is is normal for yearling cranes. During summer, #401, 407, and 408 roosted together back at Necedah NWR.

Cranes #401, 407, 408 on Nov. 22, 2005. Photo WCEP Trackers

Fall 2005: Cooler temperatures at the end of August prompted some early autumn staging/pre-migratory activity, and the three birds moved from Necedah NWR to Morrison County in central Minnesota. They were seen there on several dates up to Nov. 9. They were next sighted Nov. 22 in Washington County, Indiana—on migration! They were using the shallow edge of a lake and foraging in a harvested cornfield next to the lake. They roosted near Hiwassee NWR in TN on Nov. 24. On Nov. 24 they were in Sumter County, GA. On Nov. 30, cranes #401, 407, and 408 completed migration when they arrived at the Chassahowitzka pen site. They soon moved on to other nearby areas.

Spring 2006: Still with #407 and #408, he left Madison County, Florida, and flew into Georgia on March 9. They completed migration to Wisconsin's Necedah NWR March 20.

Fall 2006: Began migration from Wisconsin on Nov. 19. Made it to SE Indiana that day. Detected in flight over Pasco County, FL on Nov. 24. Remained there with the subadult flock (309, 407, 520) and sandhill cranes during December. Visited the Chass pen in January after the new chicks arrived.

Spring 2007: Crane #401 (and 520) left Pasco County, FL on March 13. Arrived on Necedah NWR by the night of March 22. The pair separated and #401 was not located again until April 19. He and #508 were found together in Wood County on an aerial survey. Female 508* had apparently been in this area for several weeks.

Fall 2007: Migrated from Wisconsin to Kane County, Illinois, on November 22 with crane #508. By the end of December the two were in Davidson County, Tennessee.

Cranes #401 and #508 are on private property. The owner put up a sign because people were trespassing to see the pair of whoopers. (Unfortunately, some people still trespassed, endangering the birds' safety.)

Spring 2008: Signals heard on the refuge March 30 confirmed the pair (401 and 508) was back on Necedah NWR. They began nesting around April 16, but only eggshell fragments were found when the nest was checked on May 5. This pair separated for a short time in early fall (see photo below).

Fall weather in Wisconsin was unusually warm. On November 1, ICF Tracking Interns Eva Szyszkoski and Binga Elger checked on the five 2008 Direct Autumn Release (DAR) cranes released together on a remote part of the Necedah NWR. Here they are with adult #401, who joined them for a short time. Many sandhill cranes were also with the Whooping cranes, but the sandhills flushed when the costumed biologists entered the scene.
Photo Binga Elger, ICF

Fall 2008: By Nov. 5 or 6, #401 was back with mate #508. #401's transmitter was replaced so he can now be tracked again. They were in Davidson County, Tennessee for the winter.

Spring 2009: Began migration with mate #508 on or after March 9. Reported back at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin by March 19. He and mate #508 were found on a nest April 9! The nest failed April 24, likely due to the torment of the crane pair by an outbreak of biting black flies as the adults tried to sit on the nest. This pair stayed in the area together all summer.

Fall 2009: Began migration with mate #508 on November 15, a day with clear skies and north winds to help push them south. Amazingly, they met up with another pair (#514 and #712) and a single crane (#829) at the same location in Winnebago County, Illinois, where they remained until December 9. No subsequent reports of the pair 401/508 after that.

Spring 2010: The signal of #401 and his mate #508 were detected on Necedah NWR on March 17, although the birds had not yet been visually confirmed. They had been reported south of the Jasper-Pulaski FWA in Indiana on March 10 and in Lake County, Indiana, on March 14 and 15.

Fall 2010: Male #401 (1-04) and mate #508 (8-05) migrated to Morgan County, Alabama, but they were no longer found at that location after January 27.

Spring 2011: Male #401 (1-04) and mate #508 (8-05) were back at Necedah NWR by March 21. On April this pair was nesting but the nest failed May 7. Two eggs were destroyed before they could be collected.

Fall 2011: Tracker Eva said #1-04 and #8-05 "have a habit of wintering in areas that we have trouble locating." They did not winter in Illinois because they were only detected there once or twice and then moved on to an unknown location. This winter, #W1-10 apparently wintered with this adult pair.

Spring 2012: Pair #1-04 and #8-05, with #W1-10, showed up in Douglas County, Ilinois on Feb. 28, reported ICF tracker Eva Szyszkoski. The three cranes stayed together as they migrated back to Necedah NWR where they showed up on March 14!

Fall 2012: Wintering area unknown

Spring 2013: Pair #1-04 and #8-05 completed spring migration on March 30.

Fall 2013: Crane #1-04 and mate #8-05 migrated south to Wheeler NWR in northern Alabama.

Spring 2014: Pair #1-04 and #8-05 were in Giles County, Tennessee in early February. They were seen departing on Feb. 22, traveling with Sandhill cranes. This location wais north of the wintering location where they were seen in December. They were next reported in Lawrence County, Illinois, on 19 March where they remained through at least 28 March. They were not detected there on March 31st, and they were confirmed back on Necedah NWR on April 1. The pair nested in Juneau County, and the nest was still active as of April 30. However, on the May 29 aerial survey flight the pair was seen foraging away from the nest, so they had abandoned it.

Pair #1-04 an #8-05 in mid-Tennessee on Feb. 27, 2014.

Fall 2014: Pair #1-04 and #8-05 left Juneau County WI, on fall migration around Nov. 8 and migrated to Wheeler NWR in Alabama. They were not consistently there all winter and probably used another nearby area as well.

Spring 2015: #1-04 and #8-05 returned to central Wisconsin and nested.Those first eggs were removed April 16 by experts in the forced renesting program, but their second nest produced chick W16-5 around June 2. The chick was seen alive on June 23, but did not survive to fledge.

Fall 2015: Crane pair #1-04 and female #8-05 spent about a month in Lawrence County, IL before moving on to their winterin grounds at Wheeler NWR in Morgan County, AL.

Spring 2016: Male #1-04 and female #8-05 were first reported back on the breeding grounds on March 29th, 2016. Their first nest failed but they were seen on a renest May 6 and hatched two chicks by May 28. Chick W10 was last seen alive June 2, and W9-16 was still alive and with the parents on their territory Aug. 4. By the end of August, the remaining chick had died.

Fall 2016: Male #1-04 was alone and still in Juneau County, WI until he migrated to Morgan County, AL in December.

Spring 2017: After completing spring migration back to Wisconsin's Necedah NWR, male #1-04 and his new mate, female #16-07, were reported on a nest platform April 2nd by Wisconsin DNR pilot Bev Paulan. On Bev's next aerial survey flight, both "parents" were seen on Necedah NWR and away from any nest, so the pair had no successful nesting this summer.

Last updated: 6/10/17

Back to "Meet the Flock 2004"

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