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

Crane # 408 (8-04)

Date Hatched

May 6 , 2004



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

June 16, 2004

Permanent Leg Bands


(change from original 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: Scroll Down for Most Current.

Migration Training: Introduced to the trike at 9 days. Received 7 hrs & 5 min. of aircraft conditioning while at PWRC. At first showed a bit of anxiety when the costumed caretaker left, but later grew mellow, low-key and laid-back. Loves treats. After the health check didn't care about bring handled and having a radio transmitter on his leg, so long as treats were being passed out.

First Migration South
:Often challenged for the lead position on the aircraft wing. On the Dec. 12 final flight, he nipped at the wing of the lead bird to challenge it to move over! Often called a toublemaker (along with 402 and 405).

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 #408 stayed with 401, 407 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 wandered into southeastern Minnesota in mid June, which is normal behavior 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 Florida pen site. They soon moved on to other nearby areas.

Spring 2006: Still with #401 and #407, he left Madison County, Florida, and flew into Georgia on March 9. They completed migration to Wisconsin's Necedah NWR March 20.

Fall 2006: Male #408 began migration with female #501 on November 3rd. They roosted that night in Boone County, Illinois. They were in Kankakee County, IL on November 11-12. Successfully migrated to Florida, where #408 and female #501 remained together. They moved between Pasco County and Hernando County, FL. and visited the Chass pen site Jan. 12.

Spring 2007: Began migration March 19 (with #501 and #514). They arrived together at Necedah NWR on March 29.

Fall 2007: He left on migration with female #519 on November 27. Crane 408 (along with 512 and 519) completed migration and arrived in Florida on December 4. He was found with #514 and #519 in Hillsborough County, FL on Dec. 19.

Spring 2008: After wintering south of Tampa, #408, #514 and #519 were the first cranes to begin their journey north on February 26. A March 18 report of three whooping cranes in Morrison County, Minnesota, may have been these birds. Crane #408 (with #519) was confirmed back on Necedah NWR March 27. The pair was reported nesting on the refuge and it appeared on April 23 as if they had just begun to incubate, but the nest failed on or before May 5 when it was checked and found empty.

Sara Zimorski took these photos of the pair's nest from a plane on April 23, 2008! She checked the nest on May 5, 2008, but found it empty.

Fall 2008: Migrated with mate #519 in a group of other whoopers that reached Alachua County, Florida by Dec. 31/January 1.

Spring 2009: Began migration from Alachua County, Florida, on March 5 or 6, but his mate #519 was not with him. She was with him when he was next reported in Greene County, Indiana during March 9-15. #408's signal was heard on Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on March 19, and he and mate #408 were found April 8 incubating on a nest! (Nest failed before eggs could hatch when black flies tormented the parents off the nest.) In late May trackers located a possible re-nest of this pair but they did not become parents, and spent the rest of the summer in the same area.

Fall 2009: Crane #408 and mate #519 had not yet begun migration as of Nov. 30. They did migrate and spent winter in their old territory in Alachua County, Florida, where they remained at least until Feb. 16.

Spring 2010: Crane #408 and mate #519 were detected at Armstrong Bend, Meigs/Rhea Counties, Tennessee, on February 25. They arrived in Greene County, Indiana by March 14 and remained there until departure March 18-22. They were reported back on Necedah NWR by March 24 and observed on a nest during an aerial survey on April 5. No successful nesting.

Fall 2010: #408 (8-04) migrated with his mate #519 to their previous wintering territory in Alachua County, Florida.

Spring 2011: Male #8-04 was reported alone on migration in Greene Co, Indiana on March 3, and his mate was still in Florida —where she was associating with a nonmigratory Whooping crane! Male #408 was confirmed back on their Wisconsin territory (without his mate) at Necedah NWR, on March 29. Soon he was associating with new female #908 on his old territory that he shared with his wayward mate #519. Meanwhile, she (#519) was migrating north to this same territory, and bringing with her the male from the Florida nonmigratory flock! What will happen when the old pair and the new pairs face off for the same territory? It didn't happen, and the non-migratory male turned around and went home to Florida! Male #408 got his old mate (female #519) back again, and they built a nest on their usual territory. They began incubating on April 25 but their nest failed on May 9.

Fall 2011: Migrated with #19-05 (519) to Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2012: He was assumed to be back with his mate when #19-05 was reported back on Necedah NWR on March 16, migration complete. They were found incubating on an April 26 nesting survey flight by trackers. The first nest failed but they nested again on May 14 and were still incubating May 29 but this nest later failed.

Fall 2012: Departed on November 17 with #19-05 (519) and migrated to Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2013: Completed spring migration with #19-05 on March 30.

Fall 2013: Migrated after November 8 with #19-05 (519) and they may have spent the winter in Greene County, Indians, although trackers are not certain because both cranes have nonfunctional transmitters. They were in Greene County in mid January, so Tracker Eva assumes they stayed the winter.

Spring 2014: #8-04 and mate 19-05 completed migration to the Necedah NWR by April 1. They nested but by April 30 the nest had flooded and failed.

Fall 2014: Pair #8-04 and 19-05 migrated to Greene County, Indiana, where they have been seen associating with pair #9-05 and #13-03 and their adopted chick PR #20-14.

Spring 2015: Pair #8-04 and #19-05 completed migration to the Necedah NWR and nested, but did not have nesting success this spring.

Fall 2015: Male #8-04 migrated to Green County, Indiana and spent the winter associating with W3-10 and young #65-15 DAR.

Spring 2016: Male #8-04 completed migration back to the Necedah NWR and during the summer paired with W3-10. They nested and their first nest had two eggs removed as part of the forced renesting experiment. They did not build a second nest this summer.

Fall 2016: Pair #8-04 and W3-10 were seen at Necedah NWR in early fall. The pair was reported on wintering grounds in Greene County, Indiana in late December.

Spring 2017: Male #8-04 and his mate W3-10, both with non-working transmitters, had completed migration back to the Necedah NWR by early April and were seen with a nest on Bev Paulan's aerial survey April 11. They re-nested and were incubating their second nest when seen on Bev Paulan's May 12 flight. Those eggs were collected for captive incubation in the Forced Renesting Study. They re-nested and were incubating their second nest when seen on Bev Paulan's May 12 flight. W9-17 and W10-17 hatched about May 30. In sad news, both chicks were gone when Bev Paulan flew over the pair's territory on June 15.

Last updated: 6/16/17

Back to "Meet the Flock 2004"

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