Meet the New 2007 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2007 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 710

Date Hatched

May 7 , 2007



Egg Source: USGS Patuxent WRC

Permanent Leg Bands

Weight 05/07/07: 154 grams
Weight 09/05/07:
6.3 kilograms

Left Leg Right Leg
  • 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 has two siblings in the Class of 2007. They are #714 and #726, both females. In the first weeks, #710 was the tank that plowed through everything! In a pool, his swimming was compared to a jitterbug lure. On May 16 the trainers introduced 709 and 710 for the first time. There was a lot of bill pecking, with 709 finally coming out on top after their 20-minute walk. He came to Wisconsin for flight school on June 19 in cohort one, the 8 oldest chicks. But soon he developed a fear of the great outdoors. The sound of the aircraft engine excites him and he charges out like the rest of the birds, but then he stops short and doesn't want to leave the pen area or get near the airplane. This behavior affects the other chicks, so the pilots put the scared bird back in the pen and he misses his training time with the other birds. However, the pilots come back and give him lots of mealworms to coax him out for a training session by himself. Rather than start the engine and add to his dismay, they pulled the aircraft along as a guide. After some days of that, #710 eventually calmed down. One happy day #710 was first out of the pen and eager to follow with the rest of the flock — but soon he "forgot" and wandered into the marsh with 712. It took 20 minutes of coaxing to get them back.

The pilots decided to give 710 and the other stubborn birds a few days off. It worked! By July 24, #710 was flying strongly beneath the wing of the trike for the entire length of the grassy runway, along with 3 of the other oldest chicks. By July 31 he was flying two circuits with the ultralight! He made steady progress and was flying more than 20 minutes by the end of August and 30 minutes by mid September!


First Migration South: Chick #710 left Wisconsin for his first migration on October 13th, 2007. He flew the whole first leg of the journey and landed safely at Stopover #1! Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #710 below.

October 13, Day 1: #710 took off with Joe and 5 other birds but dropped out in a marsh on the refuge. Brooke later returned in search of him and #710 joined Brooke in flight. See a photo story about #710's first migration day! >>

October 25, Day 13: #710 dropped out and flew his own way soon after take-off. Search parties on ground and air went into action to find him! >> He gave them quite a workout. His signal was strong when he was on the ground, but he kept takinig off and thermaling upwards to soaring on the day's rising columns of warm air. Tired trackers decided to wait for sundown so thermals wouldn't be a temptation for the young bird. Finally they captured him and put him in a box to join his flockmates!

#710 checks out a pumpkin on Halloween!
Photo Operation Migration

October 28, Day 16: Same story: #710 left his fight line with the ultralight and took off on his own, soaring on thermals. The search was on. Charlie and Bev finally captured 710 and drove him to the new site in Green County. This is getting to be a habit!

Nov.1, Day 20: Finally! #710 stayed with the flying flock the whole distance today!

Nov. 4, Day 22: #710 behaved well today, too. But here's what Brooke said as he glanced over at 710 in flight: "He stays like a statue out on that invisible vortex of lift, looking over at me with pure contempt, a thought balloon above his head saying "Better make this ride a smooth one, baby, 'cause if you don’t, I’m out of here for the rest of the day!"

Nov 10, Day 29: #710 was the last bird in the line of 16 with Joe, and that means he had to work harder to keep up. After flying about 5 miles, he did a quick turn and made a beeline back towards the pen. But Chris gave chase and soon caught up with the wayward bird. Chris got #710 turned back on course, 1 mile behind the others. And #710 had a nice flight as the only bird, getting a nice lift near Chris's wing.

Jan. 23, Day 92: In a wild and heart-stopping day for most of the birds and team, only #710 and Brooke made it all the way to the Gilchrist County stopover.

Jan. 28: Migration complete!

#710, 722 and 707 in TN
Photo Anna Fasoli, ICF

Spring 2008, First Journey North: Began migration from Florida March 25 in a group of six flockmates. That night they landed in southwestern Georgia, and soon #710 and #722 split off from the others (#703, 707, 709, 714) to land a few miles away. The two resumed migration on March 26 to Bledsoe County, TN, and were joined there on March 28 by #707. The three migrated to Morgan County, Indiana on April 8. On April 9 they were migrating, and by April 10 they arrived in Jasper County, Indiana. On April 12, PTT data indicated they were in Lake County, Illinois. On April 13 they moved to McHenry County, Illinois, 30 miles west of their previous roost. They remained there through April 19. The group resumed migration on April 20 or 21. On April 21 they passed east of Necedah NWR and roosted that night in Waupaca County, Wisconsin.
At 9:30 a.m. on April 23 they headed towards Necedah NWR, landing in nearby Jackson County at approximately 4:30p.m.: MIGRATION COMPLETE!

Fall 2008: Migrated and wintered in Hernando County, Florida with cranes #709, 717, 722, and 726.

Spring 2009: Trackers think that #710 left Florida on March 18 with #722, who was in Randolph County, AL by the night of March 19 and Champaign County, Illinois on the night of March 22. The signal of #722 (and presumably #710 with her) was detected on Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on March 23 and both birds were confirmed on the refuge March 24.

June 3, 2009: Crane #710 was captured and removed from the new Eastern flock to go live at the Lowry Park Zoo in Florida. He was removed because he has been visiting the ethanol plant in the town of Necedah and had gotten completely tamed to people and vehicles. The tracking team also grew worried that #710 was attracting other birds to the area, all of them eager to eat the piles of spilled corn. This unfortunate situation was ultimately caused by the woman who fed him corn in Florida last winter when he was hanging out in her backyard. The homeowner ignored the Team's please to NOT feed or try to attract Whooping cranes. For the safety of the cranes, they all must remain wild and avoid all humans and human activities; this is why it is urgent to leave the cranes alone and never tempt them with food. Now #710 will be introduced to Whoopee, Lowry Park Zoo's lone female Whooping crane. The staff members are sure that 710 will be a celebrity, helping to spread a conservation message and a warning of the dangers of tameness. He may not be able to fly but he will be well loved, live longer, eat better, enjoy good health and spend the rest of his days with his new mate. Maybe you will visit him someday! We hope you will remember the extreme measures it took to get 710 into the wild and also the two round-trip migrations he made to Florida and back on his own. As Joe Duff said, "It seems a shame that he will never fly again. But maybe his fate will reinforce our message that kindness kills wildness and Whooping cranes need a place of their own."

Oct. 2009, Lowry Park Zoo: Now known as "Kernel,” #710 now lives with "Whoopie", an adult female Whooping crane. Their home is a large natural exhibit shared with four endangered Key deer. Kernel did super well with gradual introductions to the exhibit and other animals. Kernel and Whoopie seem to like each other. They have been observed wading in shallow water side by side, digging and foraging, and displaying the crane mating dance.


Last updated: 10/23/09

Back to "Meet the Flock 2007"


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