Meet the 2008 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2008 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 812

Date Hatched

May 22 , 2008



Photo taken May 24, 2008

Egg source: ICF

Leg Bands

(Attached after reaching St. Marks)

Left Leg Right Leg
  radio antenna
  • Read about the naming system, hatch place in Maryland, release site in Wisconsin, over-wintering site in Florida, and leg-band codes.
    *Scroll to bottom for most recent history.*

Personality and Training:

Notes from the captive breeding "hatchery" at Patuxent WRC in Maryland:
The first hatched in Cohort Two. He had a set of lungs, which made for an eventful and noisy first few days. He is very light in color and very needy, wrote Barb. "Of course he is very cute and worth every minute of care and loving we can give him." He did very well at his first circle pen training session on May 30. Said Barb, "This chick and 813 were the easiest to train, although he was a screamer at first. He settled down and learned to follow very well. He seems to be a dominant bird in the group. One evening when we were weighing him in the weigh box, he stood up so tall and straight with his little wings to the sides and its head up and little chest out. When we were done weighing the chick Brian said, 'That chick thinks it's better than us!'" Crane #812 is one of the dominant birds in his group but each one seems to know their place in the heirarchy.

Photo Brian Clauss, Patuxent WRC

Notes from "flight school in Wisconsin:
Arrived at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge July 9 in cohort 2, the middle group in age in the Class of 2008. He weighed 5.8 kg at the pre-migration health check on Sept. 3. He is the leader of cohort 2.

He is still a leader in the combined cohort 2-3 group. He started out very mellow but got pushy and threw his weight around to let everyone know he is in charge. "No one challenges #812," said Brooke.



Cohort 2 (812 is in the lead)
Photo Operation Migration


First Migration South: Chick #812 left Necedah NWR for his first migration on October 17, 2008. Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #812 below.

November 21, Day 36: Crane #812 and 12 others flew with Brooke over the Twin Groves wind farm with no problems at 2,000 feet altitude. They flew 114 miles! Today's lead pilot Brooke summed it up: "I don’t know if it was my imagination or what, but I swear our birds looked as proud of themselves as we were of them. They had been in the air 2 hours and 20 minutes, withstood teen temperatures the whole flight, and performed beyond our greatest expectations."
Photo Joe Duff, Operation Migration

Nov. 26, Day 53: He wasn't too willing to fly today and tried to turn back to the pen upon takeoff. Swamp Monster was called into action. Chicks #812, 819, and 830 were mavericks the whole distance to Cumberland County, Ilinois.

Photo Operation Migration

January 17, Day 82: Migration to St. Marks NWR Complete (cranes 805, 812, 813, 826, 828, 829 and 830)!

First Winter at St. Marks: Crane #812 had his adult voice by February 7. He also was first to have the most red on his head. Bev said, "He is quite proud of this, showing it off frequently."
Spring 2009 First Unaided Migration North: All seven juveniles in the St. Marks cohort started their migration north on March 30! Second-hand reports say that the group took to the air, found a thermal, and were gone on the wind as wild cranes fly. Bev and Brooke jumped in the tracking van to see if they could track them for a while but they lost signal at some point. On March 31 a PTT reading from #813 put her in Chambers County, Alabama. The other six stayed together and were reported April 5 in a flooded corn field southwest of Chicago, Illinois. Crane 826 somehow became injured and was rescued by an uncostumed person and taken for medical care, while the other five cranes remained together in the area at least until April 7. (See photo) On April 16, crane #812 and his 4 remaining buddies arrived back at Wisconsin's Necedah NWR. Migration complete! Cranes 812 and and 805 remained in Dodge County, WI, much of the summer, and they sometimes associated with #824, 827, 828, and 830. They wandered in nearby Sauk, Adams, and Juneau County Wisconsin in the fall.

April 15 in Illinois!
Photo Operation Migration
Fall 2009: Crane 812 (with 805) departed from Columbia County, Wisconsin, on December 10. His winter location was not determined and ther have been no further reports.

Fall 2010: Male #812 was declared presumed dead and counted out of the population at the end of 2011. He had been considered longterm missing because no confirmed sighting had been made since Dec. 10, 2009.


Last updated: 1/4/11

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