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

Crane # 623

Date Hatched

May 31 , 2006



Date of Photo:

Egg Source: PWRC

Permanent Leg Bands

Weight 9/06/06: 5.4 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 #620 was at Patuxent WRC, her caretakers said:"Chick #623 is just the cutest, sweetest little girl. In her younger days #623 was quite a handfull. She was a little meanie, but she has come along way. She knows she's in a group that has iissues! She is very content to just go find her own little corner of the world (pond) and do her own thing. She is a good forager, and likes the water and likes a good shady spot to sit in. Often she is hard to see on camera because she likes to sit right under the dome of the camera. She must think it looks like the heat lamp she had when she was growing up."

When she was really little, #623 was afraid of the trike, but now she is a little champ. In her cohort of five youngest birds, she gets along well with #619 and #620, EXCEPT when the weather is hot!

She arrived in Wisconsin for flight school on July 13 with the four others in the youngest group. All of them started out as troublemakers. They needed extra time at Patuxent so they could try to get along better without fighting.

On August 5, #623 didn't want to come out of her pen for training. Her 4 flock mates trained with the trike, and finally she came out and joined the group. Bev said, "The best part for me this morning was when 5 of last year's white birds came onto the runway to see what was up. Our darling little chicks wanted nothing of this and became quite aggressive towards the larger birds. Chick #623 got in on the act and she chased off one of the big guys too."

The pilots gave #623 some practice flying behind the trike all by herself because she is so young and lags behind. It helped! She was taking short flights by August 19.

Chick #623 is gaining confidence. She did a crouch-threat to Laurie. She probably thinks, "Oh GOOD. Finally there's something I can pick on!" Laurie was proud of her for stomping at the costume. She said, "It's amazing because no one taught her this behavior. She just knew it automatically!" She's the smallest and most submissive, so she only acts tough to someone who won't be a threat to her.

First Migration South
: Chick #623 left Wisconsin for her first migration on October 5th, 2006. She flew the whole first leg of the journey and landed safely at Stopover #1! Read day-by-day news about the flock's migration to see what happens. Here's more about #623:

Oct. 15, Day 11: All the birds took off, but #623 (and a few others) got tired. She landed in a clearing amid a forest on top of a hill. Flying chase, Joe followed her down. On Joe's first try he was able to get her back up in the air, but she couldn't quite make it over the trees. After letting her rest, Joe tried another take-off. It worked! He led #623 over the trees and they both landed in front of the travel pen in Stopover site #3, safe and sound.

Oct. 31, Day 27: When Marie and Laurie visited the birds, a few of them flapped their wings while jumping up or running when the "costumes" were in the pen. Laurie wrote: "Little 623 started to flap her wings while running back and forth from one side of the pen to the other. This usually shy chick had one quarter of the pen all to herself -like a stage - while the other 17 chicks and 2 handlers scattered into the ‘audience’ area. The behavior of 623 was so intriguing that all the audience members were moving our heads along with the movement of the modern dancer-like 623. It was a captivating sight."

Dec. 18: Since that one event on Oct. 15, #623 has flown every part of the whole migration until today. Four birds, including #623, dropped out on the way to the last stop before reaching their layover pen. She was captured and boxed to the Gilchrist County, FL. travel pen. She will fly the last leg of the journey with her flock (except for the still-missing #615) tomorrow!

January 12, 2007: Moving day! Chick #623 (along with 604 and 606) refused to follow the ultralight planes today when the pilots tried to move the 18 chicks from the layover site to "Chass." #623 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 623 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).