Meet the New 2007 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!

Photo: Photo: Danielle Desourdis, USFWS Intern

Crane #46-07 DAR

Date Hatched

June 25, 2007



Weight: 4.6 kg

Egg Source:

Permanent Leg Bands:

Left Leg:


Right Leg:


Personality and History

After hatching at ICF, this chick was nicknamed "Makita" by caretakers, but her real and only official name is DAR 46-07. She is the youngest but she holds her own with the bigger birds. Her pen mate was agressive, so she had to figure out early how to take care of herself. She is a "smart cookie" but worries Marianne because, being 2 weeks younger than the others, she sometimes goes off by herself. She liked to hang out with DAR 43-07.

She and DAR #36-07, #41-07 and #45-07 were released on a pool at Necedah NWR on the evening of October 29, 2007. All four of them flew to the nearby main sandhill crane roost, which was also occupied by adult pair #312 and #316. DAR 46-07 tried to associate with #312 and #316 (that's good!) but was met with aggression (that's not good).

First Migration South:
On Oct. 31, she and DAR #36-07 and DAR #41-07 had rejoined and they began migration! They spent most of the late morning and afternoon flying around before heading south. Trackers lost their signals south of Mauston, WI. On November 1, she and DAR 36-07 continued southward to western Indiana. They made further progress in Indiana on November 2. On Nov. 3 they were tracked to Grayson County, Kentucky. They separated and #46-07 roosted in Daviess County, KY that night. The next day she continued retreating northward to eventually roost in a reservoir in Gibson County, Indiana. She was not with Sandhills and was still at that location as of Nov. 12. She later moved Haywood County, Tennessee and on November 27 she continued southward to Arkansas (see map). How will she know where to go with no experienced birds to lead the way? Trackers will keep an eye on her.
slide show story about DAR 46-07 by ICF tracker Eva

On Dec. 1, #46-07 got back on track with the help of ICF tracker Richard Urbanek and intern Eva. They caught 46-07 in Arkansas and drove her to Hiwassee State Wildlife Area in Tennessee. They released her that evening in a great place for cranes. The next day she was in a place with thousands of Sandhill Cranes and adult Whooping Crane 420! (photo) Experts hope she will stay with her own species so that someday she can mate and raise more Whooping Cranes for the new Eastern flock. She remains in Tennessee at this date.

Spring 2008 and First Unassisted Migration North: Began migration March 16 from her wintering grounds in Meigs Co, Tennessee along with DAR 37-07, 39-07, 42-07, 43-07, and 44-07. 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 21, 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 still there as of mid May, when they briefly scattered to separate locations but soon returned to the Tuscola County location. 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 46-07 and 2 others and brought them back to Wisconsin!

In October, 2008, tracker Eva reported: "46-07 has been hanging out with #511 for a while now, and I saw them unison calling one day! The picture is a little blurry because it was from so far away, but it's very exciting that she seems to have found a male friend. Hopefully she'll follow him to Florida this fall. Male #511 used to hang around Site 3 on the refuge last year when I was a DAR intern. He was always one of our favorite birds to see there because he was so mellow, and he enjoyed being around the costumes and the chicks."

Photo Eva Szyszkoski, WCEP Tracking Team

Fall 2008: Left Wisconsin on Nov. 20 in a large group. Not all of them stayed together, but on Nov. 24, DAR #46-07 was in a group of eight (including #10-08, who was removed from the ultalight cohort) that reached the border of southern Illinois and southern Indiana. The group stayed together in Gibson County, Indiana until Dec. 21, when they moved to White County, Tennessee. On Dec. 22 she resumed migration from White County, TN and arrived in Cherokee County, Alabama with #511, 512, 716, 724 and DAR 37-08. This is where she and #412 separated from the others. The two wintered in Alabama.

Spring 2009: DAR #46-07 and #412 began migration from Cherokee County, Alabama, on March 17 or 18. DAR #46-07 (and presumably #412 was with her) were in Vermillion County, Indiana March 19. The pair was confirmed back in Wisconsin by March 28. Female 46-07 split from 412 after arriving on the refuge and was briefly with 511 before leaving him for 402. The good news is that these two seem to be a pair! They remained together in the core area all summer.

Fall 2009: Pair DAR46-07 and 402 were still on the Wisconsin refuge as of Nov. 15. They did migrate and wintered in Lake County, Florida.

Spring 2010: Began migration from Florida on March 19 with male #402. They were later that day reported near Concord, Pike County, Georgia. They arrived on Necedah NWR by March 28. On April 1, 46-07 (DAR) was observed unison calling with 211 but she went back to her mate #402 the next day.

GREAT news! Female #46-07 has a nest! She and her mate #402 were observed sitting on a nest near one of the ultralight training sites on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge on April 30th. They continued to incubate and were still on the nest as of May 28! She is the first DAR bird that has been part of an active breeding pair since the DAR program began in 2005. But the pair continued to incubate an egg eight days after it was due to hatch. The egg was collected and analyzed at ICF. The ICF veterinary staff found the egg was infertile. No chicks this year—

Fall 2010: Migrating female #46-07* (DAR) and mate #402 were found (with pair #213 and #218) in Will County, Illinois, on the afternoon of November 26. They remained in the area at least through December 2. They completed migration to their wintering territory in Lake County, Florida, where they were found during an aerial survey on December 13.

Spring 2011: Began migration on March 8 with #402 (2-04). Reported back at Necedah NWR by March 21. They built a nest and began incubating April 19 and on May 16 little W4-11 hatched! By mid June, W4-11 was the only surviving wild-hatched chick in this summer breeding season. Bad news came with the discovery of the chick's remains on July 1. Cause of death is being determined through necropsy.
Click for more about this nesting pair.
Image: Eva Szyszkoski
W4-11 and her mom on June 12, 2011. The chick died a few weeks later.

Fall 2011: Began migration Nov. 27. Usually winters in Lake County, Florida, with her mate #402, but they didn't make it that far south this year. They were reported in Hopkins County, Kentucky at the end of January and remained in the area through at least February 13.

Spring 2012: She and her mate #402 completed spring migration back to Necedah NWR by March 12. They were found incubating on an April 26 nesting survey flight by trackers. They were off the nest when seen by trackers on the May 21 survey flight, and appeared to nbe tending a chick. Sure enough, it was chick W7-12. The chick survived several weeks, but was no longer alive by the July 6 report from tracker Eva at ICF.

On August 28, 2012, female #46-07 was found dead on Necedah NWR. The loss of a breeding female is a great disappointment.

Last updated: 9/11/12


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