Meet the New 2007 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!

Photo: Danielle Desourdis, USFWS Intern

Crane #40-07 DAR

Date Hatched

June 5, 2007



Weight: 6.5 kg

Egg Source: Calgary Zoo

Permanent Leg Bands:

Left Leg:


Right Leg:


Personality and History

After hatching at ICF, this chick was nicknamed "Torque" by caretakers, but her real and only official name is DAR 40-07. She was released on Necedah NWR the evening of Oct. 30 together with DAR 37-07, 42-07, and 44-07. She stayed close to familiar areas and roosted in the day pen marsh with DAR #39-07, DAR 43-07 and female adult Whooping Crane #102. Will she follow adult #102 on migration? We will wait and see!

DAR chicks #40-07, 37-07, 39-07, 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 roosted 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 to 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. Now they can easily find cranes to follow. DAR 40-07 separated from the other DAR chicks on Dec. 13 and stayed with wintering sandhills in Franklin County, Tennessee for a while before moving to her final wintering location in Obion County, Tennessee.

Spring 2008 and First Unassisted Migration North: DAR #40-07 became the first Hatch Year 2007 chick to head north! She departed Obion County, Tennessee on March 1 or 2. By March 12 she was at Jasper-Pulaski State Fish & Wildlife Area in northwestern Indiana, where she stayed until late April. This is a major migration stopover for sandhills and Whooping Cranes. She is traveling with thousands of sandhills, and is less than 360 miles away from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, She was still at this stopover as of April 21, but on April 27, PTT data indicated that she was in Michigan. By May 5 she had moved to Allegan County, Michigan. The WCEP team did not try to capture and retrieve #40-07 (like they did with the other DAR birds in Michigan) because she was with sandhill cranes and they would not have been able to get to her before she took flight with the other startled cranes. PTT readings on the night of September 29 indicated she was still in the area.

Fall 2008: She was alone, not with sandhills, at a small pond in Allegan County, Michigan, on November 17. High-precision PTT readings specifying this location continued to be received for 5 different nights (19 November - 3 December), even after the pond was frozen and the landowner no longer saw the bird. A ground search was conducted on 6-8 December 6-8, when the area was under 1.5 feet of snow. No evidence of #40-07 was found. Trackers suspect she has died.

Death Confirmed March 9, 2009: The landowner in Allegan County, MI (where this crane was last observed on November 17) found the bird’s scattered remains and destroyed PTT.


Last Updated: 3//10/09


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