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

Crane # 735

Date Hatched

June 10, 2007



Egg Source: USGS Patuxent WRC

Permanent Leg Bands

Weight 09/05/07:
5.0 kilograms

Left Leg Right Leg
R/G If she's released she'll get color bands put back on her right leg and they will be the color bands that #717 used to
have: W/G and PTT
Temporary Band: AZURE 35
  • 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: She came to Wisconsin in cohort 3, the group of 4 youngest chicks that arrived July 18. Little #735 is a timid bird, and has been spooked once or twice (including an incident with a female deer!). Still, she remains a good follower and stays out of everyone's way. In the 4th week of July, she still had some of her soft, fluffy down, giving her a fuzzy appearance. By July 31 she was still developing her primary flight feathers. She ran behind the trike with her heavy wings held out. Even though she and her young pal #733 couldn't keep up with the others in their group, the two youngsters always tried. And they always came up to the trike at the end of the training session.

On Aug. 22, #735 was close to flying as she ran and flapped furiously trying to keep up. Photo OM

In mid August, #735 was let out of the pen after the two older birds in her cohort had some training time. Then pilots slowed the pace down for her and 733 (the two youngest birds) so all four in this group could train together. She made progress, mostly flying in ground effect. On September 8 it was too windy for the four youngest chicks to train but they were let out of the pen to exercise. Little #735 took advantage of the freedom to fly a couple of lengths of the grass runway. By mid-September she was able to fly circles in the air.

A day after health checks, one of her wings was drooping. Over the next 10 days or so, she could tuck her wing back up, but was the wing really getting better? Bad weather has prevented them from training much. On days they did train, she didn't fly very well. But good news came on Sept. 14 when Megan let #735 out by herself to exercise. Megan said, "She caught the wind and rose higher than I’ve ever seen the chicks go without an ultralight! She flew a loop over the pen, landed next to me and went right up again. She landed once more, but then flew the length of the runway only a few feet above the ground. Then she took off again! When 735 landed next to me, I tried to use my vocalizer to lure her back to the pen. But it was too cold to work! Instead, I turned towards the pen and started running. When I looked back the first time, she was only watching me at a standstill. To my dismay, the second time I turned, she was flying in the opposite direction! But as I watched, she turned and flew straight at me. She was too high to land and banked right to fly a wide arch over the pen, the marsh and the other end of the runway, before landing right beside me in front of the pen door. All this from an injured bird!" So, it looks like #735's wing is better again! Best of luck to the youngest bird on her first migration!

First Migration South: Chick #735 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 #735 below.

Oct. 13, Day 1: The youngest of the 17 birds and the newest flyer, #735 made the 4-mile flight on departure day! Richard led her on his wing and she was the last bird to arrive, but she made it all the way under her own power!

Oct. 23, Day 11: This was only the second day of actual flying during the migration, and after 10 days off, #735 wasn't eager to fly. She dropped before she had gone a mile and the ground crew took off to find her. Richard flew in and tried to pick her up, but she was unwilling to take to the air so the handlers moved in to crate her and drive her to Stopover #2.

Nov. 18, Day 37: Nathan and Megan say that #735 is easy to spot because she still has many rusty-colored feathers of a younger crane. She is gaining strength and endurance, and has been flying really well!

#735 eats pumpkin on a
no-fly day in December, 2007
Photo Bev Paulan,
Operation Migration

Dec. 12, Day 61: It was a no-fly day, but a day for exercise. After flying in the misty air and running around in the rain, it was time for the birds to go back into the pen. Thirteen went in, but four were holdouts, including #735. The four would not budge. Just when the "costumes" thought they got one bir headed the right direction, the bird would spin away and run back to join the others, like a game of tag in the rain!

February 2008: Now at the winter site at "Chass," 735 is being watched because of some trouble with her wing. See what happened in this slide show.

Spring 2008: First Migration North: On March 28, the youngest bird in the Class of 2007 became the first to make it back to Wisconsin—but she got help. She was #735 was airlifted back to Necedah NWR in Wisconsin. Until she can fly again, she will live in a travel pen there. A team from ICF and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will tend to her. Now that #735 is not facing a 1200-mile migration, she only needs to recover well enough to fly in the local area at the summer nesting grounds. Then she can be released again. Thanks to the veterinary care team at Disney World and WCEP partners and supporters, young #735 has one more chance at being wild.

March 2008: It was decided that Crane #735 will not migrate this spring because she is unable to fly. View this slide show to find out why:

When Cranes Get Sick: The Story of Crane #735

April 10, 2008: Crane #735 will live in a pen at Necedah and get physical thereapy in hope she will fly again. Sara reported: "She is doing well though still won't fully extend her wings. Before she left Florida we were doing physical therapy on her wings. Now that more of the tracking team is back in WI, we'll begin that therapy again. At first I was concerned that there could be problems if older whooping cranes discovered #735 in that pen. I was worried she might become stressed and pace in her pen, but she's been visited by #216 (photo below, right) and also by 211 & 217, and she doesn't seem to mind. She's very calm and doing well living in that pen.

Photos Colleen Wisinski, ICF

Here is #735 with a snake in her pen at Necedah in April, 2008.

Without adequate physical therapy, she still was not flying by early summer, 2008. Her genetic bloodline is valuable, so #735 will go to a new home to become a parent bird. She will live at Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans, LA. The flock population was reduced by one with her July departure.
Photo Eva Szyszkoski

Last updated: 7/14/08

Back to "Meet the Flock 2007"


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