Photo M. Wellington, ICF
Meet the 2006 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2006 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 27-06 DAR

Date Hatched

May 28, 2006



Date of Photo:

Egg Source: ICF

Permanent Leg Bands
Left Leg: R/G

Right Leg: W/G/R, PTT

[Changed from R/W to W/G/R in March 2009]
  • Read about the naming system, hatch place in Maryland, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering site in Florida, and leg-band codes.

Personality and History

Before Release
Marianne says: "He has always been fairly independent. He is easy to recognize since he hatched with a white toenail on his middle toe. He might be considered the rebel. He is willing to test his parents’ tolerance. He often wandered off just a little more than the others and never seemed as interested in coming back to us "parents" in the white costumes. He was more interested in the adult cranes around! Then he thought he could take on adult #102. She put him in place several times. The last time she knocked #27-06 flat on the ground and was about to jab him when the costume stopped the attack. As soon as 27-06 got to his feet, he ran quite a distance away. He has been more interested in the costume since then, and he's often one of the first chicks to come to the costume when the vocalizer played the crane call that means Come here. It's okay. You're safe.

"He still is interested in the wild birds. He chased ducks just to watch them fly. I also wonder if he realizes his costume parent isn’t the real thing (we don’t look like the adult whooping cranes). We wonder if he will try to release himself by deciding to fly with #102 or sandhill cranes here at the refuge."

The DAR chicks had their health checks on October 4. In addition, #27-06 got a temporary radio transmitter/band placed on his leg in case he flies from his pen site and trackers don't know his whereabouts.

Oct. 17, 2006: Dr. Richard Urbankek said the DAR birds received their permanent leg bands. Chick #27-06 and the other four will be released as soon as they get usedd to their new leg bands and transmitters. Their freedom is near! Will they hang out with, and then follow, the older whooping and sandhill cranes to learn their migration route?

October 20: Chick #32-06 (with #27-06) was set free on the Wisconsin refuge where it spent its first months of life. The two newly released chicks didn't return to the pool where they grew up, and remained at the release site to roost. They were hanging out with the older whooping cranes (#311 and #301) who are also at that site. That's a good sign!


Click for larger view of DAR #27_06, DAR #32_06 and adult pair #312 and #316.

Fall 2006: Finally began fall migration on Nov. 30 together with #32-06 and adults #316 and #312. An ICF tracking intern tracked the four cranes to Kendall County, Illinois that night. These birds were one of the last groups to leave Necedah NWR. If they stay together, the DAR chickswill have two migration veterans to show them the way! The photo shows them in Kankakee County, Illinois, on Dec. 2, 2006.

The two juveniles separated from the two adults between Illinois and Florida and joined migrating sandhills. The juveniles arrived in Lafayette County, Florida, on December 9, completing their migration to Florida in just nine days! By late December the large sandhill flock had gone, but #27-06 and #32-06 remained in the same location.

After #32-06 was killed (likely by a bobcat) at the end of January, DAR 27-06 remained alone at the same site. He was still there, alone, as of March 24.

First Spring Migration: DAR #27-06 remained alone in Lafayette County, Florida until April 21 or 22 when PTT data indicated he began migration. By April 27-28 he had reached Allen County, Indiana. He arrived in Michigan May 3 or 4 while attempting to complete migration to Wisconsin. He encountered Lake Michigan and ended up staying until he was captured and brought back to be released at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on May 14.

Fall 2007: DAR 27-06 (with 28-06) began migration on Nov. 5 and made it all the way to Jasper-Pulaski FWA, Indiana on the first day. By Nov. 12, they arrived on the wintering area in Pasco County, Florida. They were the first Florida arrivals in the flock this winter!

Spring 2008: Dar 27-06 was still on winter territory in Pasco County, Florida on March 22, and arrived on Necedah NWR (with DAR 28-06) on April 3! DAR #27-06 broke the pair bond of #501 and #310 and was seen together with female #501, but she didn't stay with 27-06. On September 27 he was seen on the refuge with #412 and 509. He has a nonfunctional transmitter and cannot be tracked.

Fall 2008: DAR #27-06 and DAR 28-06 disappeared from Neceda NWR after October 25. An unconfirmed report of two Whooping cranes in Winnebago County, Illinois on Oct. 29 may have included #27-06. On November 19 the automatic datalogger. showed them in the area of their Florida winter home (Pasco County). Migration complete! (He has a nonfunctional transmitter so cannot be tracked.)

Spring 2009: Captured for transmitter replacement (and new colored bands) on March 4 at his Pasco County wintering site. Began migration from Pasco County on March 18 with 28-06 (DAR). They were reported in Porter County, Indiana, on the night of March 22. They completed migration to Necedah NWR by March 28. He was unpaired throughout the summer and remained in the Necedah NWR area.

Fall 2009: Male DAR 27-06 began assocating with Female DAR 42-07 in early October. The newly formed pair remained at Quincy Bluff in Adams County, Wisconsin, thoughout October. He was reported in Dane County, Wisconsin, from November 15-25 with 42-07* (DAR) and #524. They were no longer at this location on November 26 and completed their migration in Morgan County, Alabama.

Spring 2010: He left Alabama sometime after March 6 with #524 and 42-07 (DAR). His signal was detected March 17 at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin, but he had not yet been visually confirmed. He was among the earliest arrivals back in Wisconsin.

Fall 2010: Male 27-06 DAR and female #26-09 (#926) were found near Grundy County, Illinois, during an aerial survey on December 2. They were detected flying through western Kentucky on December 6and reported at Wheeler NWR, Morgan County, Alabama, on December 8.

Spring 2011: Male 27-06 DAR, still with female #26-09 (#926), was on his winter territory until at least the morning of March 2. The two were not found there on March 3, but were reported back at Necedah NWR by March 10. They were observed building a nest in May. No chicks.

Fall 2011: Crane 27-06 DAR, with his mate #26-09 (#926), migrated to Alabama's Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and spent winter there.

Spring 2012: Crane 27-06 DAR and his mate #26-09 (#926) were detected arriving back at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR on March 11, migration complete!

Fall 2012: Migrated south to Wheeler NWR, Alabama, with mate #26-09.

Spring 2013: Trackers assumed that male 27-06 DAR probably completed migration with his mate, Crane 26-09 (#926) on March 17 when her signal was detected on Necedah NWR. (Tracker Eva says the pair may have moved off the frozen ponds to a more hospitable location.) By late April or early May the pair had a nest together but it failed in early May. The pair did not attempt a second nest this summer.

Fall 2013: Migrated to Wheeler NWR in Alabama with mate #26-09.

Spring 2014: Crane pair #27-06 DAR and 26-09, along with# 3-11, 4-11, 17-11, 19-11 and #38-09 DAR began migration from the Wheeler NWR in Alabama between Feb. 15-18. This large group was reported in Gibson County, Indiana, on February 21. They then moved to Lawrence County, Illinois, by the next day and were seen with an eighth (and unknown) bird that tracker Eva believes that might be #26-10 DAR. On March 21, #27-06 DAR and #26-09 completed migration to Necedah NWR. By mid April this pair had a nest with one egg, but the nest had failed when checked April 30.

Fall 2014: Male #27-06 DAR left the Necedah area with mate #26-09 sometime after Oct. 24. They wintered again at Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

Spring 2015: Male #27-06 DAR, with mate #26-09, completed spring migration back to Necedah NWR in Wisconsin March 14 or 15! Their second nest of the season hatched one chick on June 8, but the chick did not survive the month.

Spring 2016: Pair #27-06 DAR and #26-09 returned from spring migration and nested on Necedah NWR in May and were still nesting June 7.Their new chick, W22-16, hatched on June 10 but did not survive into the summer.

Fall 2016: Male #27-06 DAR and mate #26-09 were still in Juneau County, WI as November began but migrated in December to Wheeler NWR in Morgan County, Alabama.

Spring 2017: Pair #27-06 DAR and #26-09 returned to Necedah NWR and were nesting by early April. Eggs from their first nest were collected in the forced renesting study but the pair did not make a second nest.

Male #27-06 was found dead by Wisconsin DNR pilot Bev Paulan on May 18, 2017.

Last updated: 6/9/17


Back to "Meet the Flock 2006"

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