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

Crane # 526

Date Hatched at Patuxent
(Egg from ICF)

June 3 , 2005



Date Arrived in Wisconsin

July 13

Weight Aug. 31
Temporary Leg Band

Permanent Leg Bands
6.1 Kg
White 26

  • 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: Chick #520 and #526 did very well in training at the circle pen at the hatching center in Maryland (Patuxent Wildlife Research Center). Chick #520 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.
On July 19, #526 was able to displace adult whooping crane #218 while in the midst of an aggressive display. (Adult #218 hangs around the new chicks' training site, where she herself trained as a chick in 2002.) A peck at those pretty white tail feathers and #218 moved right over!

He has a crooked bill, but it causes no problems.

By September, #526 and a few others have been struggling to keep up with the group, especially since the health check. They've been flying back to the runway and missing out on over half the flight. But the September 9 training session was an improvement. All took off with the trike and followed the pilot for a few minutes. However, #526 and two other chicks soon dropped out. 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, when the combined cohorts 2 and 3 took their first training flight together, #526 was grappling with #524 for second place in the large group, with #514 in first place. He isn't the strongest flyer, but #526 follows the costume well. He is a little over-aggressive to any other birds.

First Migration South
: Chick #526 left Wisconsin for his first migration on October 14th, 2005. Read day-by-day news about the flock's migration to see what happens.

The team was shocked and sad to find #526 dead in the pen the evening of November 9, day 27 of the migration. They were at the Morgan County, Indiana stopover site. The youngest bird, 526 was a strong, large male. He was a long way from the bottom of the dominance order. Why did he die? The team first thought it might be aggression between birds due to their long stay in one place. That kind of fight results in multiple and obvious injuries. but #526 only had one injury around the left eye; none of the other birds showed any signs of aggression or injury. Maybe a disease or swallowing a foreign object caused a collapse and the other birds pecked at him once he was down. He could have jumped up in the high winds blowing through the pen and hit his head on something hard. No one knows. His carcass was sent to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI for a necropsy to learn the cause of death.

The exam showed a puncture through the left eye and into the head, but no penetration to the brain. Some bruising was found, and a hemorrhage in the brain that would result from a powerful blow to the head. The doctors believed the fatal injury was caused in the pen in a fight with another crane.

Last updated: 1/6/06

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