Meet the New 2006 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2006 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 606

Date Hatched

May 11 , 2006



Date of Photo: June 16, 2006

Egg Source: PWRC

Permanent Leg Bands

Weight 9/06/06: 6.1 kg 
  • 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

Migration Training: He was a bad bully as a tiny chick. He didn't follow the costume on walks but he did do well with training. He came to Wisconsin for flight school on June 27, 2006 in cohort one, the 8 oldest chicks. By July 20, he was one of the first ones starting to fly. He immediately got airborne behind the trike and flew the entire length of the runway! By August 15 he was flying up to 10 minutes in large circles over a big pool at the refuge and always seems ready for more. By the end of August, all 8 of the oldest birds were flying together like a well-trained squadron. They could fly for 30 minutes or more. They didn't even get scared when they flew behind the ultralight over a busy highway below.

On September 18 he didn't want to follow the ultralight when his cohort was finally being led over to join all the rest of the chicks. He and #602 were left behind to think things over by themselves. Two days later they were happy to join their flockmates, and now the whole group is together at one pen site.

First Migration South
: Read day-by-day news about the flock's migration to see what happens.

Oct. 5, 2006: Chick #606 left home at the Wisconsin refuge for his first migration. He flew the whole first leg of the journey with ultralight airplane leaders, and landed safely at Stopover #1!

Oct. 10: After 4 no-fly days, 606 (and 604) decided that they would hang out inside the pen while all the other birds rushed out to meet the waiting trike. When Joe's trike and 16 birds took off, #606 (and #604) were still back on the ground at the pen! Brooke moved in to pick these two up. They flew the whole 18 miles with Brooke's plane. It was a good day!

October 14: After being in the pen for 4 bad-weather days, Marie thought the birds were antsy to leave. "Tempers are flaring, and this morning #606 and #612 were doing the 'I'm bigger than you' thing. Most times stretching their necks out is enough of a threat and one of the birds will back down and wander off. This time both started flapping and jumping at each other until the other birds formed a 'fight ring' around them. Just as I walked over to them, #606 decided he had had enough and walked away from #612." Luckily, the next day the birds got to fly!

Oct. 15: All 18 birds took off behind Brooke's plane today, but the ground crew always stays put for at least 10 minutes to make sure that none of the birds turn and head back to the pen. Today 606 and 618 both circled back. Thanks to the Swamp Monster (aka Bev) to keep them from landing, Chris was able to pick up the two that returned. But they circled back AGAIN. Finally, Charlie caught them and drove them all the way to Stopover #3 in special boxes in the van.

Oct. 23: News about 606, 608, 615 and 618 landing in the field came through the radio shortly after departure from Stopover #3. With the exact location of these chicks provided by our top cover pilots, Don and Paula, Bev and Sara went to them right away to secure their safety. They were crated and driven to Stopover #4.

Oct. 26: When Bev and Marie checked the birds in the pen on this no-fly day, 606 was very grumpy and pecked hard at the costume. Then 606 moved up to 607 and pecked him once. Was 606 telling his buddy to "chill out" and back off?

Oct. 31: On this no-fly day, Marie went to the pen to check the birds: "Most of the birds were peacefully eating and drinking together and peeping contentedly. That is, until 613 picked up a golf ball sized seedpod that 604 wanted. 604 went after it as 613 ran toward a water bucket to clean off her find. Then 606 ran in to grab the seed, but 613 gulped it down too quickly. 606, obviously disgruntled that she didn’t get any, gave 613 a peck on the back. That seemed to restore the peace, and by the time we left the pen the three birds were foraging side-by-side."

Nov. 23: "We often find a layer of ice in the water bucket during the morning check," reports Laurie. This morning, we found pieces of ice on the ground next to the water buckets. It looked like somebody picked out the ice and piled the pieces up on the ground. After we dumped the water with ice into the footbath, #606 went right up to it and started to play with the ice. Now we knew who might have been involved in the ice removal activity."

January 12, 2007: Moving day! Chick #606 (along with 604 and 623) refused to follow the ultralight planes today when the pilots tried to move the 18 chicks from the layover site to "Chass." #606 was boxed and taken to a travel pen in Citrus County for overnight with other chicks that quit flying before they reached Chass. The next day was better and 604 flew with Joe and 11 other chicks the last 5 miles to their final winter pen. Home!

Feb. 2, 2006: Crane 606 died when violent storms moved through central Florida during the night, killing all 17 chicks in the pen at Chass. Only #615 somehow managed to escape.

Last updated: 2/4/07


Back to "Meet the Flock 2006"

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