Meet the New 2005 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2005 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 508 (8-05)

Date Hatched

May 8 , 2005



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

July 13

Weight Aug. 31

Permanent Band Colors
Left Leg:
(New colors as of 11/16/10)

5.7 Kg

Right Leg:
G/W radio USFWS 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: Gave trainers a bit of a scare for for the first few days after hatching. She was not gaining weight well and had to be tube fed. Made a comeback on May 11 and is now doing well.
Began first training a few days later when still pretty young, and was quite scared of the trike. After a few days she was much less frightened. On May 15 she was found fighting with 504 (who later got sick and died) through the Plexiglas that separates their pens. Their food bowls were right next to each other and they were fighting over them. #508 is about 5-7 inches tall, while the older 504 was already around 2 feet tall. Birds that young can be violent enough to take on full adults sometimes too. It is a great example of the instinctual aggressiveness of these chicks. She got along with #509 while at Patuxent. The trainers worked hard to add chick #513 to the little group of #508 and #509. (#513 wants to be in charge all the time.) By the end of June she seemed to grow out of her aggressiveness. She now lets #513 dominate this group of oldest birds. Chick #508 was held back in Maryland due to injuries when the rest of cohort 2 was shipped on July 6. Instead, #508 arrived at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin with shipment 3 (the youngest chicks) on July 13. She and #514, also held back with injuries, were reunited in the pen with their old cohort after arrival. They did well on the journey from Patuxent in Maryland and began to drink and eat upon entering the pen at their new summer home in Wisconsin. On July 30 it was too windy to train with the trike, so the birds were let out to exercise. Right away, #508 and #509 (currently, cohort 2's two best flyers) took off and easily cleared the short fence bordering the runway to land about 50 yards away in a fun, marshy area.

On August 1 #508 was flying on the wing of the trike (while #509 flew straight into the marsh as usual)--and #508 flew 17 minutes with the ultralight!
On September 9, #508 and her Cohort 2 had a great day. All 8 birds took off from the runway on the first try and never looked back. They flew for about 15 minutes, and stayed with the pilot for the entire flight! What a relief after several days of dropping out and missing flying time after the stress of the health checks.

She has gone from being a very aggressive little chick to a submissive colt and a good flyer. She follows and flies well, and loves the water in the wet pen.

First Migration South
: Chick #508 left Wisconsin for her first migration on October 14th, 2005. Read day-by-day news about the flock's migration to see what happens.

Here is more news about Chick #508's first migration:

On Day 1, #508 landed 1 mile short of the first stopover site. She was just too tired to make the distance. She was crated and driven to the first stopover site, but did just great after that! She landed safely with the flock at the temporary holding site at Halpata Preserve in Marion County, FL on December 13. The cranes will be moved to their final release pen in mid-January after all the older cranes have dispersed from the pen site.

On January 9--nearly a month after the migration ended, Crane #508 was the only one to successfully fly with the ultralights from the temporary pen at Halpata Preserve to their final winter pen at Chassahowitzka NWR, 26 miles away. She spent the night by herself in the top-netted pen at Chassahowitzka. Pilots spent the next 2 days trying to move the rest of the birds.

Spring 2006: Began first spring migration from the "Chass" pen site March 28 with all flock members except 520. This flock of 18 split at roost time on March 28, and fourteen juveniles (501, 502, 503, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, 510, 512, 514, 519, 523, and 524) stayed together. They probably roosted near the confluence of Turner, Crisp and Wilcox Counties in Georgia. They didn't move the next day. On March 30 they resumed migration and roosted in Hamilton County, TN. The next roosting place was March 31 in Spence County, KY; April 1 in Jefferson County, IN; April 2 and 3 in DuPage County, IL; April 4 in McHenry County, IL. (past Chicago). They are determined to get back to Wisconsin! They flew two days in rain, and in stong headwinds on April 4. On April 5 they resumed migration, stopping in Sauk County, WI--just short of Necedah NWR! Tracker Richard Urbanek was monitoring them the morning of April 6 when they took off. They completed spring migration as they passed the SW corner of Necedah NWR just after noon. (They kept going! They landed, foraged, and roosted that night in nearby Trempealeau County, WI.)

A PTT reading for #508 on the night of 8 September 8 indicated that the pair #508 and #407 had moved to southeastern MINNESOTA, where #407 had been present at the same time in 2005. The pair later moved to Marathon County, Wisconsin, where they hung out with a flock of sandhill cranes.

Fall 2006: Remained in Central Wisconsin with mate #407 until late November. She was later reported in Alabama and then by Dec. 27 in Florida. She was in a small flock of sandhill cranes. (Her former mate 407 was not seen after a Nov. 29 sighting in Wisconsin, until he was seen without her in Florida on Dec. 28.) PTT signals in early January put her in Louisiana where she was observed with Sandhill cranes.

Feb. 2, 2007: Crane #508 forages with Sandhill cranes in Louisiana.

Photo Richard Urbanek, ICF.

Spring 2007: Female #508 began migration from Louisiana on March 4. A PTT reading showed she roosted in Illinois, on the night of March 23. She returned to the core reintroduction area in Central Wisconsin by March 29.

Fall 2007: Migrated from Wsconsin to Kane County, Illinois, on November 22 with crane #401. By the end of December the two were in Davidson County, Tennessee.

Cranes #508 and #401 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 but got together again on November 5 or 6.

Fall 2008: Migrated with mate #401. They were in Davidson County, Tennessee for the winter.

Spring 2009: Began migration with mate #401 on or after March 9.Reported back at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin by March 19. She and mate #401 were found on a nest April 9! The nest failed April 24.

Fall 2009: Began migration with mate #401 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 further reports.

Spring 2010: The signal of #508 and mate #401 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. They were reported back at Necedah NWR on March 17.

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

Spring 2011: Female #508 (8-05) and mate #401 (1-04) 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 #401 & #508 "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: Crane #8-05 (508 and mate #1-04 (#401), 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:

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

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

Spring 2014: Pair #8-05 and#1-04 were seen in Giles County in mid-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 back at Necedah NWR on April 1, but likely arrived March 31st. 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 #8-05 and #1-04 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: Pair #8-05 and#1-04 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 still alive as of pilot Bev Paulan's June 23 aerial survey, but did not survive to fledge.

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

Spring 2016: Crane pair #8-05 and male #1-04 were first reported back on the breeing grounds on March 29th, 2016. Their first nest failed; they were seen on a renest May 6 and hatched two chicks: W9-16 on May 26 and W10-16 on 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 but by end of August had died.

Fall 2016: No reports on female 8-05 but her mate #1-04 was still in Wisconsin and alone as of Nov. 18.

Spring 2017: No reports after the last sighting of her on Oct. 19 in Juneau County, WI.

Last updated: 6/5/17

Back to "Meet the Flock 2005"

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