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

Crane # 721

Date Hatched

May 21, 2007



Egg Source: USGS Patuxent WRC

Permanent Leg Bands

Weight 09/05/07:
4.8 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: #721 was smallest in her cohort—just a peanut in comparison to 724. She is an eager and happy-go-lucky little bird. She likes to jump around so much that she even broke her toe when she was tiny. She got really excited when the trainers put the ramp in the baby pen to let her go outside.

She came to Wisconsin on July 3 in cohort 2, the group of 5 chicks between the oldest and the youngest. She keeps losing the splint on her broken toe. She has the most popular toe in the pen because the other chicks like to peck at the strange splint. At Necedah she was kept separate in the pen to keep her out of the water, but 722 was let in to keep her company. On July 9 when the wing was first added to the ultralight for cohort 2, she and pal #716 were so curious and brave that they bit at the struts and cords that support the plane's wing. They followed well as Brooke taxied around with the wing on and quickly learned it was nothing to be scared of. By July 24 these two females were catching a bit of air under their wings as they strongly flapped/ran behind the trike during training. By Juy 31 she could fly in ground effect for 100 yards or more. During August she practiced and made lots of progress as a good flyer.

First Migration South
: Chick #721 left Wisconsin for his first migration on October 13th, 2007. She 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 #721 below.

Nov. 10, Day 29: When all her flockmates blasted out of the pen to take off with Joe's plane, #721 hung back at the pen, as if saying “I will wait for the next ride.” Megan played swamp monster to scare #721 into the air, and Richard went down to pick up 721 and lead her to the next stopover.

Nov. 25, Day 44: #721 was again reluctant to join the others, but Joe taxied up and coaxed her out of the pen. She flew the distance. Did she just want an easier ride?

December 29, Day 68: 721 took off with all the others to cross the Cumberland Ridge today, but she was late comiing out of the pen. As a result, she lagged behind. But Richard came along at just the right time. They climbed high and flew over the mountains. Go, 721!

January 23-24, Days 92-93: Chick #721 was one of several that dropped out of the flight to Gilchrist County, and she was the only one not found before dark. But trackers determined her location that evening, and they found and boxed her up early the next morning. She was soon with her flock again, and she performed like a champ as all 17 birds flew safely to Gilchrist County, Florida.

Jan. 28, 2008: Migration complete!

February, 2008: Now at the "Chass" pen site, #721 doesn't like #703 and chases him almost every day. Luckily, he can fly well! Watching over the chicks at the pen, Sara says, "The strange and aggravating thing is when #721 comes from halfway across the pen to harass and chase #703 for no apparent reason. Needless to say I feel sorry for #703 and am not a big fan of #21 and her bullyish behavior."

Spring 2008, First Journey North: Began migration from Florida March 26 in a group of five (716, 717, 721, 724, and 726). They ended up in Calhoun County, Georgia for the night, about 220 miles north of their starting location. The next day, after a fog rolled through, the cranes resumed migration to Coffee County, Tennessee. On March 31, these five birds left Coffee County and were in Daviess County, Indiana that evening. They continued migration to Jefferson County, Wisconsin on April 16. On April 19 at 11:30 they arrived in the vicinity of Necedah NWR and proceeded to circle over portions of Juneau, Adams, Monroe, and Wood Counties before they landed on farmland along the Yellow River. Migration complete! (They didn't stay on Necedah NWR until April 21.)

Fighting with a sandhill crane (far left) in Jefferson County, WI

April 19: HOME!

Photos Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Fall 2008: Crane #721 successfully migrated with male #307 but was found dead on January 3, 2009, in Putnam County, Florida. Trackers estimated that she probably died sometime the previous week, or late December of 2008. It appeared as though she may have been predated by an eagle. She had last been observed alive on December 22 with male 30l7, with whom she had paired at Necedah
NWR in mid-June. She migrated with him, but when #307 was no longer in the same location as #721, trackers began to suspect something was wrong. Eva Szyszkoski said that data from outside observers indicates that #307 may have stuck around for a few days after #721's death, and then moved west to Alachua County, Florida where other Whooping cranes are wintering.


Last updated: 1/4/09

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