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

Crane # 818

Date Hatched

May 31 , 2008



Egg Source: ICF

Leg Bands

(Attached after reaching Chass)

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:
Nicknamed "Mouse" for her tendency to scurry about. Never seems to walk at a steady pace, but instead skitters to and fro like a mouse. Among the chicks that will form Cohort Two, #818 was paired up with 816 to begin trike training. Bev calls #818 the class class go-getter.

Photo Brian Clauss, Patuxent

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.
She was already flying by Aug. 12, and Bev said she became a little better behaved. "Once out of the pen, she would almost always '‘do a runner' into the marsh. At the last training session though, instead of running into the marsh, she just flew there right over the swamp monster's head.” On Aug. 15 pilot Richard told a good one: “At the end of the training session the chicks gathered around the trike for treats. The puppet was doling out grapes and a grape bounced off 818's head. She didn't seem to mind and promptly ate it, glad for the well-deserved attention.” But she was still, as Bev said, "our little swamp lover.” She weighed 5.2 kg at the pre-migration health check.

July in Wisconsin.
Photo Operation Migration
First Migration South: Chick #818 left Necedah NWR for her first migration on October 17, 2008. Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #818 below.

October 28, Day 12: The "little swamp-lover" is proving to be a great migrator, fying strongly and following willingly each time they take off.

Photo Operation Migration

November 6, Day 21: Heather reports, "818 pecked out the right eye of my puppet last night at roost check. She's still living up to her old nickname "Mouse," as she'll grab a piece of pumpkin and scurry off with it to ensure nobody else has a chanceto take it from her."
Photo Heather Ray, Operation Migration

November 21, Day 36: Crane #818 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

January 23, 2009, Day 88: Migration complete for the "Chass 7" of #803, 804, 814, 818, 819, 824 and 827! SEE PHOTOS >>

Winter at the Chass Pen: She had her adult voice by February!
2009 First Unaided Spring Migration: Cranes 804, 814, 818, and 819 left Florida on March 24 — the first four to leave Florida for Wisconsin on their first unaided migration! On March 31 The PTT on #818 indicated she was in Peoria County, IL. Tracking this group, Eva got to that location April 1 but found that crane #819 has separated from the others. The three continued migrating April 1 and 804, 814 and 818 were reported April 7 in McHenry County, Illinois. The three reached Necedah NWR on April 16! They stayed in the area or nearby Dodge County all summer. By late October/early November 818, 804, and 814 joined with #828, 824, 827, and 830 there to make a group of seven. These seven were a mix of birds who had spent the winter at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and birds who’d spent the winter at Chassahowitzka NWR. This group remained together in Dodge County through the last check on December 4.
Despite being chased away by the winter monitoring team, the group of adults kept coming back to the pen as though they want to live there with the ten chicks of the Class of 2009!Photo ICF
Fall 2009: (Also see above) Crane #818 was in the group of seven who moved to Dodge County, WI in late fall and stayed through at least December 4. None of these birds were seen or heard from again until the evening of December 12 when #828 turned up by himself at the Hiwassee State Refuge in Tennessee! Where were #818 and the others? The answer came on January 8 when some workers at Chassahowitzka NWR went out to the pen to do some work before the Class of 2009 would arrive, and found the 6 Whooping cranes just outside the pen! The group of 6 consisted of all 5 surviving Chassahowitzka NWR birds from the Class of 2008 and #830, who had wintered at St. Marks NWR. Trackers expected the group to stay for a day or two and then move elsewhere, which usually happens when birds from the previous year complete their first unassisted migration. They moved, but to a spot only about a mile from the pen site. 818's nonfunctional PTT was replaced on March 7.
Spring 2010: Cranes #804, 814, and 818 remained on Chassahowitzka NWR until they began migration on March 10. They were reported in Barbour County, Alabama, on March 13. PTT readings were later received for #818 nearby in Stewart County, Georgia, on the nights of March 18-20. The three were detected on southern Necedah NWR or just south of the refuge on April 1!
Female #818 paired with male #509 after return from spring migration, but she was killed by a predator a few weeks later. Her carcass was found May 3 among young maple trees adjacent to a meadow on Necedah NWR. She was last confirmed alive on April 21. Examination of telemetry data indicated that death had probably occurred by April 25. The carcass will be forwarded to the National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin, for necropsy.
Last updated: 5/4/10
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