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

Crane # 524

Date Hatched

June 1 , 2005



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

July 13, 2005

Weight Aug. 31

Permanent Band Colors
Left Leg:

5.4 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: Hatched June 1, 2005. His toes had to be taped at Patuxent, and he often tripped and fell over the toe-taped foot when walking. But the toe got straight, the tape came off, and he walked much better! He was the dominant chick in his cohort at Patuxent. On July 10 (just before cohort 3 shipped to Necedah), Mark said, "#524 is a little bit of a pain to the other birds."
Chick #524 shipped to Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on July 13 with other Cohort 3 (youngest) chicks, ready for flight school. All Cohort 3 birds surprised the ultralight pilots by quickly coming out of their pen on their first day of training after arriving at Necedah NWR. They all ran after the trike, following closely. Hooray!
On August 28, Cohort 2 joined the younger Cohort 3 birds to live at the same pen site. When both groups were let out to mix with each other for the first time, #524 and #514 chased and bit each other. They jump-raked each other too (jumped into the air and kicked out at each other with their sharp claws). They "acted like jerks," said the handlers.

As days of flight training passed, some days #524 doesn't even get off the runway. He and #519 follow the trike, flying along the ground until reaching the unmowed grass. Then they stop, so they have been missing out on some flight training. The September 9 training session was an improvement for this group of struggling young flyers. All took off with the trike and followed the pilot for a few minutes. Then #524 dropped out and #526 and #519 followed. They all returned to the grass runway---but when the pilot circled back around in hopes the dropouts would take off and follow again, it worked! All three became airborne and followed for about half a circle before breaking off and again returning the runway.

By September 15, chicks #524 and #526 are grappling for second place in the combined 2/3 Cohort, with #514 in first place. Chick #524 is not yet a great flyer. He often returns early to the runway. He can still be clingy with the handlers, peeping loudly and begging.

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 #524 (along with 511, 519, and 520) were stragglers that came back to the runway. But he's getting better--and he is still one of the top birds in dominance on the ground.

First Migration South
: Chick #524 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 #524's first migration:

On day 1 he returned to the pen and had to be crated and taken to the first stopover. (Chicks 503, 505, 506 and 516 turned back too.) on 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.

On Dec. 13, #524 landed safely with the 19-bird flock at the holding pen at Halpata Preserve. The cranes will be moved 26 miles to their final release pen at Chassahowitzka NWR ("Chass") in mid-January after all the older cranes have dispersed from the release pen.

The pilots and ultralights tried to move the birds on January 9. Crane #524 made it to Chass on the third day of trying, January 11. HOME for the winter!

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.

Fall 2006: Making their first all migration after learning from the ultralights, #524 and #523 left Necedah NWR, undetected, on the morning of October 22. They were found north of the Halpata pen site from last year's layover in Marion County, FL Nov. 22! They were in Levy County through Jan. 10 and not with sandhill cranes. When next checked on Jan. 13, the signal of 524 was no longer detected. His transmitter is not working.

Spring 2007: #524's status is unknown and trackers are worried that he may have died. His transmitter does not work. He was last observed with #523 on February 16. During an aerial survey on March 1, #524 was not with #523. Richard Urbanek noted that it was unlikley, although possible, that the two wintering cranes would have separated by choice. Because of vegetation and water conditions of that area, Richard said, “If 524 died there, finding his remains without the assistance of a transmitter would be almost impossible.” By the end of March, #524 was presumed dead, with death likely sometime between Feb. 16 and March 1, 2007 in Florida.

JOYOUS SURPRISE! On June 13, 2007, #524 was spotted alive and well, back on the summer home at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin!

Photo Nicole Frey, ICF

Fall 2007: #524 began migration from Necedah NWR after October 28. He was observed flying south at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Indiana. Unfortunately, his transmitter doesn't work so he cannot be tracked. A whooping
crane was found at Jasper-Pulaski FWA (in Indiana) on November 4, and on November 7 this bird was confirmed to be #524. He was still there Nov. 24.

Photo Dan Kaiser

Spring 2008: Where is #524? Late on the night of April 14 Sara received word from the landowner on whose land five of the 2007 DAR birds were staying in Fayette County, Indiana. A new Whooping Crane had joined the DAR youngsters there! Colored leg bands proved it was #524, whose transmitter is dead and who hadn't been seen since November 2007. See photos and read more details here. On April 16 the five DAR birds resumed migration and #524 departed too, but was not seen again until August 26. Eva was tracking on the south half of the refuge, "zeroing in on 307 and 721 who are always together, when I saw three birds near the road. One of them turned out to be #524! It's possible that he has been on the refuge for a long period of time, but was never in the right place at the right time for a tracker to see him." Hooray!

Fall 2008: He was captured and his transmitter replaced on Nov. 13 so he can now be tracked. Began migration from Wisconsin on November 17, along with pair #213 and #218. He was next reported with the pair on their wintering territory in Morgan County, Alabama on Nov. 21. He wintered on Wheeler NWR in Morgan County, AL.

Spring 2009: Trackers believe he likely began migration from Alabama along with pair #213 and #218 between March 9 and 13. He was last reported with them in Warrick County, Indiana, on the morning of March 15, 2009. No further confirmations on him, although #213 and #218 arrived back at Necedah NWR March 19. He was unpaired and stayed in the area all summer.

Fall 2009: He was reported in Dane County, Wisconsin, from November 15-25 with 27-06 (DAR) and 42-07* (DAR). They were no longer at this location on November 26 and completed their migration in Morgan County, Alabama.

Spring 2010: Male 524 with 27-06 (DAR) and 42-07 (DAR) began migration from Alabama after March 6. Crane #524 was found with 42-07* (DAR) back in Adams County during an aerial survey on April 5.

Fall 2010: Male #524 and mate 42-07 (DAR) were confirmed at their wintering area on Wheeler NWR, Morgan County, Alabama, on November 29.

Spring 2011: Male #524 and mate 42-07 (DAR) were observed in flight on the morning of March 3 and did not return to their winter location. They were back in Adams County, Wisconsin by March 21. The pair nested for the first time and began incubating on April 24. The nest failed on April 29 but two fertile, viable eggs collected.

Death: Sad news came on June 13 when the carcasses of this breeding pair were found on their Adams County territoryby ICF Field Ecology Intern Mike Wheeler. Both carcasses were sent to the USGS National Wildlife Heath Center in Madison, Wisc. for necropsy. The carcass of male #514 was too decomposed to determine the cause of death and tissues were unsuitable for further analysis. The suspected cause of death for the female was septicemia, and analysis of lab cultures and tissues is pending.


Last updated: 6/19/11

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