Photo: B. Clauss, Patuxent WRC
Meet the New 2006 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2006 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 619

Date Hatched

May 28 , 2006



Date of Photo: July 19, 06

Egg Source: Calgary Zoo

Permanent Leg Bands

Weight 9/06/06: 5.7 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 as a Chick: While #619 was at Patuxent WRC (before she came to Wisconsin for flight school at about 8 weeks of age), her caretakers said:
"She has never gotten over the 7 deer she saw two weeks ago in the training field. She is very alert, constantly looking for danger. Deer certainly aren't a predator of cranes, but the chicks get scared of unusual things. Even a little bunny can send them running and it takes a long time for a chick to forget a bad experience. #619 is a very pretty bird, very slender and tall. She looks very elegant. She likes to forage in the pond." She gets along well with #620.

She came to Wisconsin on July 20 with the cohort three birds. This group was supposed to arrive on July 13, but they had to stay behind at Patuxent until they learned how to get along better with each other. These five all seem to be troublemakers. On August 5, pilot Bev watched #619's great bounding leaps and strong flapping and felt sure she would lift off in flight that day or very soon.

By August 15 she was flying the length of the runway in ground effect. By August 17 she was able to fly the length of the runway with the rest of the chicks in cohort three, the youngest birds. From then on, she made good progress. She's still feisty, but not as bad as #618 and #622.


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

Chick #619 left Wisconsin on her first migration on October 5th, 2006. She was one of the 17 birds who flew the whole first leg of the journey and landed safely at Stopover #1!

"Chick #619 is our little ghost bird, says Marie. "Always in the middle, not causing any trouble and hardly ever noticed. Like in most families, our chicks that get noticed are the outgoing or troublesome ones. Those quietly going about their business (like #619) are often left alone. But I like this bird because she is so easy-going and I try to sneak her extra corn when the other "kids" aren't watching!"

Oct. 23: After 7 days of being penned, #619 had a little trouble climbing to cross a ridge soon after takeoff. She and 2 other birds landed with Joe to rest. Crane #619 did well after a second take off, flying on Joe's wingtip. With only two birds, Joe climbed to 2,500 feet and they made it to the next stopover. More.

Nov. 17: When the ground crew arrived at the travel pen they discovered 619 was on the outside. There was no clue as to how she escaped. The ground crew will check the pen and gates to see if they can figure out what happened. But when today's lead pilot, Chris, swooped in and did an air pick up, 619 followed and took off behind him with all the other birds!

Photo Chris Gullikson, Operation Migration

Dec. 9: Here's #619 surfing the leading edge of the wing of Chris's trike on Day 67 of the migration! (Click to enlarge.)

January 12, 2007: Moving day! Chick #607 followed the ultralight planes Jan. 11 when the pilots tried to move the 18 chicks from the layover site to "Chass." She was one of only 6 birds that cooperated! Hooray! Migration complete.

Feb. 2, 2006: Crane 619 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).