Photo: Danielle Desourdis, USFWS Intern

Crane #39-07

Date Hatched

June 4, 2007



Weight: 5.0 kg

Egg Source: Calgary Zoo, Canada

Permanent Leg Bands

Left Leg:
/G/W ( PTT removed July 2010. New colors:)



Right Leg:


Personality and History

After hatching at ICF, this chick was nicknamed "Wingnut" by caretakers, but her real and only official name is DAR 39-07. DAR #39-07 had some damage to her bill from running into the fence when she was afraid.

She and DAR 43-07 were released together October 30, 2007 on Necedah NWR with adult Whooping Crane #102. That night she roosted in the day pen marsh. She later joined five other DAR chicks that were still on the refuge. These six stayed together the rest of the week. They roosted each night at Site 3 with adult female #102. This DAR group moved around to other ponds on or near the refuge during the day. They associated with adult pairs #211/217 and #309*/403 sometimes. Other times they were with Sandhills, or alone.

DAR chicks #39-07, 37-07, 40-07, 42-07, 43-07, and 44-07 roosted with adult #102 on the night of Nov. 5. That's a good sign that maybe they'll follow her south!


Nov. 29 in Illinois. Click to enlarge.

Photo Richard Urbanek ICF Tracking Team

First Migration South: Nov. 6, 2007: The group of 6 DAR chicks joined Whooping Cranes #309 and 403 and sandhill cranes at another spot on Necedah NWR. Several other adult Whooping Cranes and about 200 sandhill cranes were also nearby. And then the 6 young DAR birds did a surprising thing: they began migration, all by themselves and with no adult whooper or sandhill crane to lead the way! The chicks took off in 20 mph NNW winds under partly cloudy skies. They flew south 214 miles and landed to roost in a small pond in a harvested cornfield in Peoria County, Illinois. They resumed migration Dec. 5 after their roost pond became frozen. With tailwinds, they flew 167 miles and landed to roost in Clinton County, Illinois. (See their map.)

On December 11, 2007, the six off-course cranes were captured and moved to Tennessee by the ICF tracking team so they could easily find cranes to follow south. But on December 17, DAR females 39-07 and 43-07 flew to Alabama. They stayed until December 23, when they returned and wandered around the Hiwassee area for the rest of December and into January.

Spring 2008 and First Unassisted Migration North: Began migration March 16 from her wintering grounds in Meigs Co, Tennessee along with DAR 37-07, 42-07, 43-07, 44-07, and 46-07. They made good progress, roosting for one night in Adair County, Kentucky and then resuming migration the next day to Clark County, Indiana. On March 21st, they continued migration to Fayette County, Indiana. PTT data (satellite data) for DAR 39-07, 44-07, and 46-07 indicated they finally moved again on April 16. The group proceeded to Tuscola County, Michigan. They were were stil there as of mid May, despite some spring wandering. (On May 14 PTT readings indicated that 39-07 moved to Gladwin County, Michigan. She returned to the Tuscola County site by May 16 and so had the other wanderers.) On June 2 trackers traveled to the cranes' location to try to capture them all and bring them back to Wisconsin. Only one crane, #37-07, was successfully captured and returned. The tracking team returned June 10 and caught 39-07 and 2 others and brought them back to Wisconsin! She wandered at first and then spent most of the summer in southwestern Minnesota. PTT readings in September showed she was still there, along with males #703 and 707, and female 42-07 (DAR).

Fall 2008: A high-precision PTT reading for female #39-07 (still in the Minnesota group with #703, 707 and DAR 42-07) indicated a migration stop near St. Clair County, Illinois, on the night of November 16. The group wintered in Lowndes County, Georgia.

Spring 2009: PTT data from DAR 39-07 (and presumably her group with #703, 707, and DAR 42-07) put her (and probably the others) in Madison County, Alabama on the night of March 19 and in Marshall County, Kentucky on the night of March 22 as they migrated north. She was confirmed back in Wisconsin by March 26-27. On April 22 nest building was confirmed for DAR 39-07 and crane #707. This is a good sign, but they are still too young to lay eggs. Next they wandered back into southeastern Minnesota, where they spent much of last summer and fall — but they returned to the core area in Wisconsin between wanderings.

Fall 2009: DAR 39-07 was reported in Waseca County, MN, along with #707 in early October. Based on PTT readings for DAR 39-07, they remained there throughout the month; however, no visual sightings of the pair were reported. Later PTT readings indicated that she and #707 were still present in Steele County, Minnesota, on the night of November 24, but that migration had begun by November 30, when they were at an overnight stop in McLean County, Illinois. They continued migration on December 3 and roosted that night in Greene County, Indiana. They departed on Dec. 4 and completed migration to their previous wintering grounds in Lowndes County, Georgia, on December 7.

Spring 2010: PTT readings for #39-07 DAR from March 30 indicate that she is back in the area of Necedah NWR in Wisconsin. Trackers assumed #707 (hereafter known as #7-07, per WCEP naming conventions) was still with her and by April 20 the pair had moved back to Minnesota—but then later came back to Wisconsin. In July the tracking team captured her and removed her PTT. Sara said, "Now instead of that white PTT she has WGW on her left leg and still a RG transmitter on her right leg." Cranes #7-07 and #39-07* (DAR) were reported in Minnesota's Goodhue County on September 13 and were later observed in flight headed SW.

Fall 2010: Female #39-07 (DAR) and her mate #7-07 were seen in Minnesota's Le Sueur County on Nov. 12. By Nov. 29 they had migrated to Lowndes County, Georgia. Here they are in the same location as 3-07 (formerly #703) and #38-08 (DAR). The landowner sent this photo to Operation Migration:

Spring 2011: Began migration from Georgia starting March 8. Female 39-07 (DAR) was reported back in the Necedah NWR area by March 21 with male #7-07. They soon built their very first nest and began incubating two eggs April 25. Their nest and eggs failed May 4.
In September the pair was again reported in Rice County, Minnesota. They have a history of moving into Minnesota in the summer or fall every year (except for last 2010 when they molted and were unable to fly for about 6 weeks). Tracker Eva says: "They will most likely begin migration south from Minnesota and will not return to Wisconsin before then." Sure enough, they were reported in Le Sueur County, Minnesota, on October 2-5.

Fall 2011: Female #39-07 (DAR) and her mate #7-07 were on their winter territory in Lowndes County, Georgia by December 4, according to the Georgia landowners who host them and also pair #703 (or 3-07) #38-08 (DAR) on their property each winter. They wrote: "In the four years that they have been coming, we have worked hard to maintain and encourage an estuary in the back of our pasture and return the land the way it was before we ever moved here. We are now home to several varieties on waterfowl. Last year we even had 3 Sandhill cranes move in, but I haven''t seen them this year. Cranes #39-07 and 7-07 adopted them and it was fascinating to watch #39-07 'mother' them."

Pair #39-07 and #707. Crane pairs 707 & 39-07 (DAR) and 703 and 38-08 (DAR) on their winter territory, as photographed by the landowner in February 2012. Pair 39-07 and 707.
#39-07 (DAR) and #7-07
Photo Susan Braun
7-07 & 39-07 (DAR) and 3-07 & 38-08 (DAR) in Feb. 2012
Photo Susan Braun
#39-07 (DAR) and #7-07
Photo Susan Braun

Spring 2012: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07 were detected on March 11 on Necedah NWR, migration complete! On April 15 tracker Eva observed one bird standing and preening on what looked like a nest platform while the other bird foraged nearby. Their nest with two eggs was confirmed on April 17. The eggs should have hatched on May 16. On May 21, trackers reported that one of the two eggs was brought back to ICF. The pair continued to incubeate the other egg but it never hatched and the pair left the nest: No chicks this summer.

Fall 2012: She arrived about 4 pm on November 29, reported the thrilled Georgia landowner on whose farm she spends winters with her mate #7-07. They hang around the pasture most of the time. The pals that arrived with them, pair #3-07 and #38-08 (DAR), come and go from the pasture. The male (3-07) went missing in mid December but his mate remained with this pair, as shown in the third photo, below.

Pair 39-07 and 707 on Dec. 1 in Florida Crane 39-07 DAR on Dec. 1, 2012 in Florida Three Whooping cranes
#39-07 (DAR) and #7-07
Photos Susan Braun
39-07 (DAR) on Dec 1. 2012
Jan. 2013: Female 38-08 (DAR) (center) remained with the pair after her mate vanished.

Spring 2013: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07, still in the company of female #38-08 (DAR), were spotted March 19 near Pecatonica, IL. on their spring migation north! They left Georgia the previous week, and were reported back at Necedah NWR on March 29! Female #38-08 (DAR) was still with them. The pair was late in nesting, but were incubating an active nest on June 4, and still incubating on June 11! The pair did not hatch out any chicks but two eggs were recovered from their nest after they incubated them for a full five days beyond the expected hatch date. The eggs were not viable.

Fall 2013: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07 were "home for Thanksgiving," reported the Georgia landowner on whose land the pair resides in winter. The pair arrived Nov. 20. "We have made sure they will be happy on the pasture and won't feel the need to investigate elsewhere this year. One area is very marshy, with deep enough water in another part and plenty of high-and-dry areas in between."

Pair #7_07 and #39-07 on wintering territory in 2013 Pair #7-07 and #39-07 on wintering territory Pair #707 & 39-07 in February 2014 on wintering territory in Georgia
November, 2013: #7-07 and mate #39-07 (DAR); and again in February 2014
Left two Photos Susan Braun: Right photo Marvin T. Smith

Spring 2014: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07 migrated back to Wisconsin and nested in Juneau County. The nest was still active as of April 30 but abandandoned in May.

Fall 2014: Female #39-07 (DAR) and her mate #7-07 migrated to their wintering home and were once again "home for Thanksgiving," reported the Georgia landowners who welcomed these cranes back to their property for the 8th year. With the cranes on arrival Nov. 23 was their adopted juvenile female #19-14, a chick from the parent-reared (PR) program. PR chicks are hatched and raised initially by their captive parents and then later released in the wild near adult pairs in hopes they will be adopted by them and learn the eastern flock's migration route. Chick #19-14 was released near this reliable pair before fall migration. They did indeed adopt her and lead her south to their winter territory. Well done, crane family! "They seem to be awesome parents," observed the landowners.

Spring 2015: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07 were observed back on territory in Wisconsin by the March 25 aerial survey. Their adoped, parent-reared chick #19-14 returned (with them?) on March 19! The adult pair's first eggs were removed April 16 by biologists in a forced renesting program, and their second nest produced chick W21-15 on June 2. The chick was seen alive on June 23, but did not survive to fledge.

Fall 2015: Female #39-07 (DAR) and mate #7-07 migrated for the 9th autumn to their usual wintering home, once again thrilling the Georgia landowers with their Thanksgiving week arrival:

Pair #7-07 and #
Susan Braun

Spring 2016: Female #39-07 DAR and mate #7-07 were observed back on territory in Wisconsin by the March 30 aerial survey. They were observed on a nest May 5; it appears the eggs were infertile or not viable, as they were still sitting when the nest was overdue. The nest failed and the pair parted.

Fall 2016: No news yet on female #39-07 DAR, whose last sighting was August 18, 2016, with 7-07 in Juneau County.

Spring 2017: Female #39-07 DAR, missing since August 2016, was presumed dead and removed from the population totals.

Last updated: 6/5/17


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