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

Crane # 511

Date Hatched at Patuxent
(Egg from ICF)

May 16 , 2005



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

July 6

Weight Aug. 31

Permanent Band Colors
Left Leg:

5.8 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: Did well in early circle pen training and walking alone with the trainers. Next, the trainers need to get the chicks into small groups so they get used to being together without fighting. Chicks #511 and #512 walked together June 2, and trainers had #514 join them June 3. Arrived in Wisconsin on July 6 with the rest of cohort 2.

Chick #511 is a big bird. He sometimes acts aggressive towards the handlers. He is scared of the adult birds when they appear on the training strip. He acts adversely to them inside or outside the pen.

On September 9, Cohort 2 finally 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! It was a big relief after several days of struggling and missed flying time that followed the health exams.

By late September, the combined cohort 2-3 was still figuring out a social structure. Normally submissive Chick #511 was getting mean. He began attacking the costumes with a vengeance, especially when Mark and Chris were in them! On Sep. 20, pilots tried to fly all 20 birds together for the first time. Sixteen flew with the trike for about ten minutes, but #511 (along with 519, 520, and 524) were the stragglers and they came back to the runway.

This bird has been getting more aggressive. Mark Nipper says 511 "hates most of us," and #511 really picked on Charlie Shafer, the "new kid," when Charlie arrived to join the ground crew in October.

First Migration South
: Chick #511 left Wisconsin for his 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 #511:

Nov. 30 he wouldn't follow the ultralight. He kept turning back to Hiwassee with a small group of other cranes who didn't want to leave the nice marshes at Hiwassee. He was put in a crate and driven to the next stopover site. After that day, he followed the ultralight just fine. He 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 10, Crane #511 made it to the final pen site at Chassahowitzka NWR on day 2 of the pilots' attempts to move the flock. The birds slowly became familiar with the idea of again following the ultralight after a month's vacation. Richard and Brooke managed to get #511 and 5 other birds far enough from the pen that they fell into line and followed the 26 miles. HOME for the winter!

Spring 2006: Began first spring migration from the "Chass" pen site March 28 with all flock members except 520. The flock split, with #511 and #521 staying in Turner County, GA on March 28. The two were last recorded there on March 30. Trackers had to leave these two birds behind in order to track the others. At 4:00 PM April 19, the radio signals #511 and #521 were detected over Necedah NWR. They had just completed their first spring migration!

Fall 2006: #511 (along with 510, 512, 519 and 307) began migration from Wisconsin's Necedah NW on November 9 and made it to northern Illinois that night. No further reports until January 2, when they were found in Levy County, FL!

Spring 2007: Began migration from Florida's Alachua County on March 27 with #510 and #512. They arrived together at Necedah NWR, on April 1.

#316 #511 in spring 2008
Photo Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Fall 2007: #511 began migration from Wisconsin on November 21 along with 307, 402, 412, 514, and W601 (the flock's only wild-hatched chick so far). Cranes #511 #514 and W-601 safely arrived in Hernando County, Florida, on December 2. Later #511 was with #316 i Marion County, FL.

Spring 2008: The pair #511 and #316 began migration from Marion County, Florida, on February 24, 25, or 26. Confirmed back on Necedah NWR on March 28.

Fall 2008:

In October, 2008, tracker Eva reported that #511 and DAR 46-07 have been hanging out together for a while now. She saw them unison calling one day! Eva took the pictures from a distance. She was very happy that that this DAR female seems to have found a male friend and hopes the female will follow #511 to Florida this fall. "Male 511 used to hang around Site 3 on the refuge last year when I was a DAR intern," said Eva. "He was always one of our favorite birds to see there because he was so mellow, and he enjoyed being around the costumes and the chicks."

Photo Eva Szyszkoski, WCEP Tracking Team

Left Wisconsin on Nov. 20 in a large group. Not all of them stayed together, but on Nov. 24, crane #511 was in a group of eight (including #10-08, who was removed from the ultalight cohort) that reached the border of southern Illinois and southern Indiana. The group stayed together in Gibson County, Indiana until Dec. 21, when they moved to White County, Tennessee. On Dec. 22 he resumed migration from White County, TN and arrived in Cherokee County, Alabama with #512, 716, 724, DAR 46-07 and DAR 37-08. Completed migration sometime Dec. 28-31, where he was at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Alachua County, Florida. With him were first-timers #10-08 and DAR 37-08 and #512, 716 and 724.

Spring 2009: #511 (with 716 and 724) began migration from Alachua County, Florida on March 10. Migration stops were March 12 at Cherokee County, AL; March 16 at Coffee County, Tennessee; March 18-20 at Knox County, Indiana; and March 21 at DeKalb County, Illinois. The birds apparently completed migration to Necedah NWR on 22 March. Male #511 was last detected on Necedah NWR on May 11, 2009.

Fall 2009: Still not detected since May 11, 2009.

Summer 2010: Missing since May 11, 2009, crane #511 was removed from the total count in the population of the Eastern flock and presumed dead, even though no evidence has been found.

Last updated: 8/9/10

Back to "Meet the Flock 2005"

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