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

DAR 27-05: "Jumblies"

Date Hatched at ICF




Date Released in Wisconsin

October 25, 2005

Permanent Band Colors
Left Leg:

G/W radio USFWS bands
(Colors changed and PTT removed 11/16/10)

Right Leg:

  • Read about the naming system, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering site in Florida and leg-band codes.

Personality and History: Scroll Down for Most Current

Migration Training: She was hatched at ICF and named "Jumblies." She was transferred to the Necedah NWR at 1 month of age. Marianne Wellington is a chick-rearing specialist who wore a costume and raised the 4 DAR chicks there. They fledged (learned to fly) when they were around 70 days old. Unlike their cousins for the ultralight-led migration, the DAR chicks roamed freely on the refuge. Marianne and other costumed parents checked on them many times each day. At night until they're released the chicks are safe in a big pen with a pond and a net over the top. Weight: 7.1 kg on Oct. 22.

DAR Chick #27-05 (along with #33-05) was released for good on the refuge near adult whooping cranes on Oct. 25, 2005. She has been hanging out with other sandhill cranes and whooping cranes on the refuge and nearby areas.

Releasing DAR #527 on a pond at Necedah NWR 10/25/05

Costume and DAR 27-05 in crate, ready for release 10/25/05

Photos ICF, Marianne Wellington

Fall 2005--First Migration South as a Direct Release Bird
:The four DAR birds began migration Nov. 24 from Necedah NWR when an Arctic air mass with 20 to 40 mile per hour winds moved into Wisconsin. They left at 10:33AM with +50 sandhill cranes. Taking advantage of a strong tailwind, these birds soon were far ahead of the tracking team, who were snarled in a traffic jam on the WI-IL border. The three DAR females each carry a PTT transmitter, and #27-05 was detected northeast of Louisville, KY. That means she traveled a whopping 455 miles on the first day of her migration! She was not with the other DAR chicks, whose signals were not detected. After circling Louisville for a day in a small airplane, tracker Sara Zimorski found her at an arboretum south of town, right next to a public walking path. Sara knew that a place so near human activity was unsafe for #27-05. She notified her supervisor, Dr. Richard Urbanek. He was providing ground support for Sara when she was tracking from the airplane. Dr. Urbanek and a helper, wearing the familiar white costumes, got near to #27-05 on Nov. 28 with a cardboard box and an ear of corn. She had been raised by biologists wearing these same suits, so #27-05 cautiously came near. They carefully pushed her into the box. The captured #27-05 was then driven 28 miles eastward. They released her among sandhill cranes in a remote waterfowl refuge that was closed to the public. She left on Nov. 29, with a 20 mph west wind. She was migrating alone. Without guidance from other cranes, she proceeded slowly southward while being blown eastward by the wind. She landed to roost about 5 PM in Laurel County, Kentucky. She resumed migration the next day (Nov. 30), flying southward alone. She landed about 1 PM in Bledsoe County, Tennessee--one ridge and valley west of Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge. Then she likely heard or saw sandhill cranes (they're loud), and flew the short distance over Walden Ridge to land about 4 PM among more than 100 sandhills in a wetland near Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge. Hooray! She made it from north-central Kentucky to the big crane gathering area at Hiwassee without the guidance of other cranes except for the final short incoming flight. She remained to roost with more than 300 sandhill cranes, and is still there, along with DAR 28-05.

Spring 2006: Began migration from Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee on February 26! She was with DAR female #28-05. PTT readings showed they roosted that night in Kentucky. They were in northwestern Indiana by February 28. Then the two separated. Chick #27-05 moved to another Indiana wildlife area with a flock of migrating sandhills until March 30, when PTT readings showed she resumed migration. she made it to Green Lake County and Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin on that date. She completed migration to Necedah NWR on April 27. At that time she was observed briefly associating with #412 on the refuge. She was occasionally observed during the summer and often in autumn prior to migration She spent the summer with a large sandhill crane flocks in Winnebago County and Marathon County, WI. Male #412 continued to attempt to pair with her without success, and they migrated and wintered separately.

Fall 2006: Began migration Nov. 19 and made it to Jasper-Pulaski SFWA in Indiana, by 20 November. As of Dec. 27, remained with thousands of staging or wintering sandhillson Hiwassee wildlife Refuge in Meigs County, Tennessee.

Spring 2007: Began migration from Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee after February 12. According to PTT readings, DAR 27-05 roosted in Pike County, Indiana, on the night of February 21. On March 18 she was reported with sandhill cranes in
Jasper-Pulaski FWA, Indiana — good crane habitat on the migration route. A signal (exact location undetermined) was detected in Columbia County, Wisconsin, during an aerial survey on March 29.

Fall 2007: Arrived on Jasper-Pulaski FWA in Indiana on or by November 22. Arrived on Hiwassee WR in Tennessee on December 3 and was still there the end of December.

Spring 2008: Female DAR 27-05 began spring migration during sometime between February 28 and March 3. She was reported with migrating sandhills in Jackson County, Indiana, until she resumed migration on March 16 or 17. An unconfirmed sighting in Fond du Lac County, WI on April 17 may have been this bird.

Fall 2008: Reported with large numbers of Sandhill cranes in Wisconsin in mid October. She was confirmed on her winter area at Hiwassee WR in Tennessee on November 23.

Spring 2009: She was reported on migration— in Hardin County, Kentucky on February 22 in large flocks of migrating sandhills. She was reported with sandhill cranes in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, on March 24. An unconfirmed report of a whooping crane Shawano County on March 26 may have been of this bird. She was in Alger County on Michigan's Upper Peninsula on April 18, and she was next observed on Necedah NWR on June 9 with #412.

Fall 2009: The wayward DAR 27-05 was observed on Necedah NWR, still with #412, in early October. She remained there until she moved to Columbia/Sauk Counties, WI, where she was reported on November 26-27. As in previous years, she wintered at Hiwassee State Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee.

Spring 2010: Crane. 27-05 (DAR) was reported with migrating sandhills in Barren County, Kentucky on February 7 and in Gibson County, Indiana, on February 20. She remained at this location through at least March 2. She was reported with #416 in Newton County, Indiana, on March 15. She has a nonfunctional transmitter but was seen by Eva at Necedah NWR on April 12, hanging out with male #412 south of the refuge. "Last year I know he was extremely interested in pairing with her, but she didn't seem to care so much," said Eva. "Hopefully this year he is able to win her over! I'm excited that she has apparently renounced her wandering ways and is deciding to stay near the refuge." (Last spring, 2009, she took a trip up to Michigan's Upper Peninsula!)

Female #27-05 DAR and mate #412 with chick
W6-10 in June 2010.

Photo Matt Strausser, ICF

Male #412 DID win her over! The tracking team found that pair #27-05 (DAR) and male #412 began a nest south of Necedah the week of May 17! "This is a particularly exciting discovery because 27-05 is the oldest DAR female in the population and she has spent the past 3 years with sandhill cranes away from the Necedah area," reports Matt of the tracking team. As of May 28, the nest was still active as the pair took turns incubating two eggs. But an Operation Migration pilot noted during a monitoring flight that one of the two eggs had fallen into the water. Although the nesting adults had done their best to push the egg back into the nest, it was the tracking team that placed the egg back in the nest. It proved too late to save that one egg, but the next day, June 11, chick (W6-10) hatched!

This nest is only the second nest produced by a DAR (Direct Autumn Release) bird, and the first chick hatched by a DAR bird. Concern about the family grew when mother crane 27-05 was reported missing on June 30. She had a non-functional transmitter so she couldn’t be tracked. Her mate, #412, continued to tend the chick until the chick disappeared July 3-6, and #27-05 DAR came back to her mate again on July 12.

Fall 2010: Female #27-05 (DAR) was captured for a new transmitter before fall migration. Now she can be tracked once again! (See her new banding colors, above.) She and mate #412 again migrated to their previous wintering area in Cherokee County, Alabama for the winter. Her mate was illegally and tragically shot before January 28 on the pair's territory in eastern Alabama. A reward of more than $23,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter(s). By February #27-05 (DAR) had moved to Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee, while the other cranes that had been in the group moved into north central Alabama.

Spring 2011: Female #27-05 (DAR), whose mate was killed weeks earlier, was the first migrating Whooping crane reported this spring. On February 14 she began migration from the Tennessee area to where she had moved by Feb. 1, after the death of her mate. She was reported with migrating sandhill cranes in Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 19. She had migrated back to Necedah NWR by March 21. She built a nest with #31-08 (DAR) and the pair was incubating by April 18. The nest failed but one fertile egg was collected on April 29. No further nesting attempts this summer. The pair stayed mainly mainly in Wisconsin's Juneau County Forest.

A sad announcement of their death came on July 7 when the carcasses of this breeding pair were fouind on their summer territory in Juneau County Forest. Both carcasses were sent to the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison for necropsy.

Last updated: 7/19/11


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