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

Crane # 419 (19-04)

Date Hatched

May 29 , 2004



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

July 15, 2004

Permanent Leg Bands
 [Changed to R/W/G in March 2009.]
  • 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 9 days. Had 8 hrs & 10 min. aircraft conditioning while at Patuxent WRC. The "2 little girls," 419 and 420, got airborne for their first short flight August 19. After all cohorts were blended on Sep. 20, she showed that she hates #403 by taking every opportunity to go over and give him a beak jab. By the end of September the "2 little girls" could fly 36 minutes at 500 feet altitude! She has real ATTITUDE for her small size, and is "the little girl you don't wanna mess with." Only the biggest males stand up to her, and she is probably in the top 3 or 5 birds in the social order! Stubborn, independent. This little gal is a daughter of Gee Whiz!

First Migration South
:Dropped out and crated to the next stop on days 15 and 22. But the two little girls did well; when they tired and dropped back, another ultralight swooped in to fly with them. They often had their own plane and got help from the currents off the ultralight's wing. A very good bird, along with 414 and 420.

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 separated. Chick #419 stayed with 2, 3, 15, 16, 17 and 20 in Dane County, WI and they all finished their migration to Necedah NWR on May 3.  During the summer she was often with sandhill cranes and #420 in farmlands of Columbia County, WI. and a marsh with sandhill cranes in Marquette County, WI.  

Fall 2005: Left Wisconsin on its first unaided fall migration on November 9, together with #420. They made it to Indiana the first day. They reached Madison County, Florida on Nov. 15--the FIRST of their cohort to reach Florida without the ultralight to lead them! They stayed the winter in Madison County, FL.      

Spring 2006: Began migration with #420 on March 28. PTT readings for that night were from Butts County, Georgia and on March 29 in Tennessee. By March 31, they had arrived at the same spot where #319 and #520 were located, and stayed at least through April 2. The two completed migration to Central Wisconsin on April 8. By April 10 the two birds had separated, and #419 was found with sandhill cranes on a cranberry wetland in Wood County, WI.

Fall 2006: Left on migration with #212 on Nov. 30. The two were not seen again until February 19, 2007 when they were seen on Okefenokee NWR in Georgia during an aerial survey. They were not with sandhills.

Spring 2007: Seen February 19 on Okefenokee NWR in Georgia with #212 during an aerial survey. A pair observed in Wood County, Wisconsin on March 19 may be this pair (awaiting confirmation). Yes, they made it back!

#419 and #212 on winter territory
Photo Eva Szyszkoski

Fall 2007: Pair #419 and #212 left on migration November 22, 2007. Found on Hiwassee WR in Meigs County, Tennessee, on December 1. Continued migration to Okefenokee NWR, Georgia, on December 3. Ended up later in Pasco County, FL.

Spring 2008: Began migration with mate #212 from Pasco County, Florida, on March 6. On April 24 Sara Zimorski sent exciting news: "Both of these birds have non-functional transmitters but the nest location is between their two main use/territory areas, I detected no signals in the area, and there are really no other possible birds this could be. This was a particular good and important find because we hadn’t yet confirmed these two back in Wisconsin, even though we suspected they were back and likely nesting." Sara took this photo from the plane. See the crane sitting on the nest? 

Photo Sara Zimorski, ICF

May 5, 2008 nest check
Photo Richard Urbanek
The nest of 212 and 419 in Wood County failed in early May. A nest check found one undeveloped egg that was infertile. The pair had no further nesting activity this summer.

Fall 2008: Pair #419 and #212 cannot be tracked but were found on their previous wintering territory in Pasco County, Florida, on January 9. Trackers tried to capture the pair to replace their transmitters on February 20 and and again on March 4, but failed both times to catch these birds.

Spring 2009: Pair #419 and #212 departed on migration on March 4 when trackers were trying to capture them to replace their radio transmitters. However, they were found at the Chassahowiztka pen site that night and finally captured for transmitter replacements on the following morning. They resumed migration from the pen site on March 6. The pair was detected in northbound flight over Tennessee on March 8 and Kentucky on March 9. They were on course toward a favorite stopover in Greene County, Indiana, where they spent March 13 -March 21. They completed migration to Wisconsin by the end of March. The pair was found April 9 on a nest, incubating! The nest failed when black flies tormented the parents off the nest, but by May 21 the pair was re-nesting about 50 meters west of their previous failed nest. Here's what happened:

On June 12 they hatched a chick at their nest site in Wood County, Wisconsin! The chick that hatched was from a captive produced egg from ICF. The pair’s own eggs were both infertile. ICF's Sara Zimorski and Eva Szyszkoski checked the pair’s eggs July 11 to see if they were fertile. When it was discovered that neither egg would hatch, Sara and Eva switched the pair’s two eggs for one fertile egg from ICF. That egg is now chick W1-09! (W is for "wild," 1 is hatch order and 09 is the hatch year).The pair is extremely attentive to their new chick and appear to be naturals at parenting, reports ICF's Joan Garland.

Photo Jessica Thompson, ICF
Parents #212 and #419 with their chick on June 24, 2009. This is the first chick for this pair, and only the second time Whooping cranes have hatched in the wild in this reintroduction project. Unfortunately, the chick disappeared between July 12 and 15. Everyone was very sad that the summer of 2009 did not produce any surviving wild chicks.

Fall 2009: She and her mate #212 began migration on November 15, a day with clear skies and north winds to help push them south. Ten whoopers began migration the same day. They were reported in Greene County, Indiana, on November 20, where they remained at least until the end of November. The pair returned for the winter on their old territory in Pasco County, Florida.

The family on August 30, 2010.
Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Spring 2010: She and mate #212 began northward migration on March 8. They were reported in Greene County, Indiana, on March 11 and stayed until March 18-22. They were reported back on their Wisconsin territory in Wood County March 20-21! They already had a nest by April 5 but by April 14 the nest had failed. It was the last of 9 of this summer's nests to fail. What a disappointment. But cranes often try nesting again. Sure enough, By May 9-11, this pair had renested! On June 6, ICF aviculturist and tracking team co-leader Sara Zimorski, along with ICF field manager Eva Szyszkoski replaced the pair's two infertile eggs with one fertile egg from captivity. With the trade complete, they became parents of a newly-hatched chick (W3-10) on June 7. Hooray!!!!! They were good parents and by the end of August their chick was seen in flight with them. On October 7 the chick was captured away from its parents for banding and a health check, then released back to the parents.

The family on August 30, 2010. W3-10 with parents #212 and #419 on October 7, 2010. W3-10 with parents #212 and #419 on October 7, 2010.
The family on August 30, 2010. #409 and mate #212 with their newly banded chick on Oct. 7, 2010.
Photos Eva Szyszkoski, ICF
The Wood County Family on the parents' territory in Florida in winter 2010-11.

Mom #419 & Dad #212 with W3-10 in Florida
Photo Eva Szyszkoski

Fall 2010: The Wood County family (#212, #419 and their chick W3-10) began migration on November 4! They flew all the way to the parents' regular stop in Greene County, Indiana!The family remained there until the morning of December 6. They were next found during an aerial survey on 13 December 13 on the adults' wintering territory in Pasco County, Florida—migration complete! Well done, new parents! They taught their chick lessons in finding food and good roosting throughout the winter.



Spring 2011: Pair #212 and #419 and their juvenile W3-10 began migration from Pasco County, FL sometime between Feb. 19 and 23. They were reported March 1 in Greene County, IN. The family stayed at least through March 5. On March 23, tracker Jen sent word: "I just heard signals of the Wood County family (W3-10, and parents 212 and 419) over Baraboo, Wisconsin!" The family was back on on their Wood County territory March 25. Two days later they moved to another location where the adults left the chick before returning to their Wood County territory. As of April 3rd, W3-10* remained in the area she was left by her parents. The adults began incubating a new nest on April 13. The nest failed May 15, with 2 infertile eggs collected after overlong (32 days) incubation.

Fall 2011: The pair #419 and #212 wintered in Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2012: Female #419 and mate #212 were detected in flight March 15 with several other Whooping cranes as they headed north over ICF in Baraboo, Wisconsin—close to Necedah NWR. They were found with a nest on April 2. They hatched a chick—the first wild-hatched chick of the eastern flock's 2012 season—on April 30! The chick (#W1-12) was observed by tracker Eva Szyszkoski of ICF. The parents have consistently laid eggs, but the eggs have been infertile. Not his time! They proved to be good parents in 2010 when they hatched and raised #W3-10 to fledging—one of only three fledged chicks in the WCEP population (see photo above in spring 2010).Parents #212 and #419 are show below with chick W1-12 as a new hatch (April 30, 2012) and again at age 37 days (June 6, 2012). Chick W1-12 still survives as of July 6, 2012.

Cranes #212 and #$19 with their new chick, W1-12.
Photos: Eva Szyszkoski/ICF, with aerial support from Lighthawk
Chick W1-12 on June 6 with parents #212 and #419.

Fall 2012: Male #212 and mate #419 were observed along with their youngster #W1-12 in Indiana on December 12.

Crane family 212, 419 and W1-12 at migration stopover

The pair did NOT continue migration to their usual winter territory in Pascoe County, Florida, but spent the winter in Indiana. The photo below was taken in February 2013 by Steve Smith. Female #419 at the left, chick #W1-12 in the middle, and father #212 on the right.

Crane family with chick

Subadult #W1-12 (left) and mother #419 (right) in March on their Indiana wintering grounds.

W1-12 and mother #419 in March in Indiana where they wintered

Spring 2013: Female #419 and her mate #212 completed spring migration back to Wood County, Wisconsin on April 2 along with their offspring from last summer, male sub-adult #W1-12. Will this pair raise another chick this summer? By mid April they were already sitting on a nest! The nest was observed by pilot Bev Paulan on an April 16 flight over crane territory, but the failed on May 5 and they did not re-nest. No chicks this summer for this pair.

Fall 2013: Pair 19-04 and 12-02 migrated to Greene County, Indiana, where they were reported on January 26.

Spring 2014: Pair 19-04 and 12-02 were confirmed back on their territory in Wood County, Wisconsin, on 28 March. They were sitting on a nest when observed in mid April. They were sitting on a nest in Wood County, WI when observed in mid April. On May 13 tracker Eva Szyszkoski confirmed that the pair hatched chick #W3-14! By July, their chick was the only survivor of the wild-hatched chicks of summer 2014.

The family: July 2014

Female 19-04 went missing from her territory in Wood County, Wisconsin, between the evening of 16 August, when she was last observed alive, and the afternoon of 20 August, when she was first discovered missing. Her transmitter recently failed, tracking her was impossible. By September she was suspected dead and was removed from the population totals of the Eastern Migratory Flock. (As of Oct. 3, her mate and offspring had remained in the area).

Last updated: 10/03/14


Back to "Meet the Flock 2004"

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