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

Crane # 824 (24-08)

Date Hatched

June 8 , 2008



Egg Source: Patuxent WRC

Leg Bands

(Attached after reaching Chass)

Left Leg* Right Leg
 radio antenna

* Color code was changed 3/19/10 and PTT removed
  • 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:

Cohort 3 (the youngest birds) has a few meanies — and #824 is one of them. However, these youngest meanies have been associating with other chicks with a little less hatred than the bullies in Cohort 1. She is a good follower but makes a beeline to peck at any other chicks that she sees. We have walked #24 with #20 and #26. One day Bev and Barb tried socializing #824 with #826 for #824's first interaction with another chick in a while. "Overall it went well," said Barb. "When we have an aggressive chick we just try to keep them moving to avoid any stops that may allow for time for meanness. Bev and I were huffing and puffing during and after the walk. Bev said she thought her head would explode we were moving so quickly, but it worked.

#824 Preens
Photo Brian Clauss, Patuxent

Because chick #824 kept being too aggressive, she was given her own pen. Barb said, "That's what you get for being a mean little chick here at Patuxent: the luxury of having your own big pen, your own shed and your own food dish and water. The chicks are probably wondering why they should bother being a sweet little bird when they can have everything to themselves.

"Chick #824 is one of the only two girls in the last group probably tries the hardest to be the most dominant bird. She will stand up very tall when #829 is near and give him the stink eye. He really doesn't want to fight, but she provokes him. She normally ends up turning and walking away."

Notes from "flight school in Wisconsin:
Arrived at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge July 29 in cohort 3, the youngest group in the Class of 2008. The team calls her the waterbug because she prefers the wet pen to the dry pen, and likes spear fishing more than pecking crane chow at the feeder. On Aug. 21 chick #824 was able to experience a short flight in ground effect and on Aug. 24 she became the first bird in cohort 3 to fledge!

She weighed 4.4 kg at her pre-migration health check. Her new leg bands bothered her at first. On Sep. 7 Chris said, "824 has been our best flier of the group and today she hardly even bothered to fly in ground effect." She got over it, though.

After her cohort joined with Cohort 2 and the dominance order changed, she kept trying to show all the others that she was a higher status bird. Despite all her "monster" behavior at Patuxent, Brooke said, "She's a beautiful bird now."

#824 at Necedah in August
Photo Operation Migration

First Migration South: Chick #824 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 #824 below.

November 16, Day 31: #824 drinks from a puddle on this no-fly day. Click on the photo and you can see her temporary legband.


Photo Heather Ray, Operation Migration 

November 21, Day 36: Crane #830 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


November 27, Day 42: She flew all 108 miles without leaving Joe's wing!


January 9, Day 74: After being grounded for 9 days in a row, #824 was one of the seven dropouts when they left Chilton County, Alabama. She was crated and driven for the first time during this migration.

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

Winter at the Chass Pen: She had her adult voice by mid February, but no red patch yet.

Spring 2009 First Unaided Migration North: 824 (who is wearing a PTT) and 803 and 827, the three birds that stayed behind when their four cohort mates departed March 24th, left the Chassahowitzka pensite the morning of April 4! Richard Urbank tracked them to a location about 45 miles almost due east of the town of St. Marks, Florida. On April 4, cranes 803, 824, and 827 arrived in Thomas County, GA and resumed migration on April 6 despite a headwind. As of April 15, they were still in Georgia (Mitchell County), presumably together, on flooded, wet land (good!). They resumed migration to Marshall County, Alabama, on April 17 and then to Christian County, Kentucky, on 18 April. They continued migration to Webster County, Kentucky, on April 21; to Effingham County, Illinois, on April 22; Henry County, Illinois, on April 23 and completed migration to Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on April 24! She spent much of the summer with buddies #827, 828, and 830, as well as with #805 and 812 in nearby Dodge County, WI. The group of four (824, 827, 828, 830) left that location and on September 18 were reported near Horicon NWR in Dodge County. By late October/early November they had been joined by 804, 814, and 818 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: Crane #824 was in the group of seven (see just above) 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 #824 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 one 2008 bird 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. 824's nonfunctional PTT was replaced on March 7 but it failed and removed on March 19. The color code was changed to free the PTT color code for future use.

Spring 2010: Departed the Chass pen area on April 5 with the "Chass 9" chicks and subadults #827 and #830. While they did not remain in one group for the whole flight, they ended up landing together in Grady County, Georgia around 6 p.m. Now minus #907, who took off on her own in the early morning of April 6, the group continued migration and roosted the night of April 6 in Jackson County, Alabama. This was just 10 miles from the Tennessee border, and 285 miles from their previous stop. On April 7 they flew 250 miles to Orange County, Indiana where they dropped out early because of deteriorating weather conditions. The group of 11 continued migration to Porter County, Indiana (southeast of Chicago), on April 9. Here they split into a group of eight (#824, 827 and 830, 901, 904, 905, 924 and 929) and a group of three (#913, 919 and 927). Both groups continued the next day (April 10), when the group of eight completed migration!

Fall 2010: Female #824 (with male #814) remained on Horicon NWR, Dodge County, through at least November 10. Only #814 was detected on the evening of November 25 but he was gone by December 1. Female #824 arrived at Hiwassee WR, Meigs County, Tennessee, between 6 and 10 December 6 and 10 and left this location on December 14. Her signal was next picked up by the Homosassa Springs datalogger on December 21. She was reported on Dec. 27 with cranes #814 and #827 in Citrus County, Florida, where they remained.

Spring 2011: Cranes #824 and #814 (now 24-08 and 14-08) began migration from Citrus County, Florida, between February 20 and 23. They were at a Morgan County, AL stopover March 11 at least through March 14. They were detected on Necedah NWR on April 6! The pair was seen building a nest, but without results.

Fall 2011: Cranes #824 and #814 (now 24-08 and 14-08) were found in Wabash County, IL during a tracking aerial search on December 3. They were in in Edwards County by Dec. 22 and observed there again on Dec. 28 but were not there when on January 6.

Spring 2012: Cranes #824 and #814 (now 24-08 and 14-08) arrived March 21 at Necedah NWR, migration complete.They were found with a nest on April 6 and then later abandoned it. They re-nested and one egg was seen April 29. By May 10 they were acting like they had a chick (W4-12). When observed again on May 21 the pair was off their nest and appeared to be tending their chick (#W4-12). The chick was no longer alive as of the June 15 nest check.

Fall 2012: She was captured Nov. 1and her transmitter replaced before migration. Her original band colors remain the same. Pair #824 and #814 (now 24-08 and 14-08) were reported in Richland Co IL on December 1, 2012 and spent most of the winter in Wabash and Edwards Counties, IL. They were there until 26 March 26, 2013, when they left on their northward migration back to Wisconsin.

Spring 2013: Crane #824 (24-08) was confirmed confirmed back at Necedah on March 29 and mate #814 (14-08) on March 28. The pair was soon nesting. This pair was among only three crane pairs still sitting on a nest on May 7 after a three-day span when all 17 other nests were abandoned, but they abandoned their nest shortly after that. Luckily, one of their eggs rescued by biologists hatched to become chick #9-13 for the ultralight led Class of 2013!

Fall 2013: Female #24-08 and her mate #14-08 were reported in Madison County, Alabama at the end of December and remained at least through mid January. ICF tracker Eva observed: "The place looked really nice so I would doubt they would have moved," so we'll soon see if this is their winter territory.

Spring 2014: Mates #24-08 and 14-08 completed spring migration to Necedah NWR on March 31. The pair nested and hatched W6-14 and W7-14 in May! The status was uncertain as of the May 29 aerial survey flight, however, as neither parents nor chick could be found, although a radio signal was being detected.

Fall 2014: Pair #24-08 and #14-08 left the Necedah area on fall migration between Nov. 6 and 9. They wintered in Madison County, Alabama.

Spring 2015: Pair #24-08 and #14-08 completed migration to Necedah NWR and were seen May 22 on a nest. Those eggs were removed by experts for the forced renesting program but they nested a second time and hatched chick W12-15, shown here on June 8, but the chick did not survive the month.

W12 with parents on June 8, 2015

Fall 2015: Pair #24-08 and #14-08 migrated south for the winter.

Spring 2016: Crane pair #14-08 and #24-08 were observed back in the Necedah area on the March 30 aerial survey flight. They were observed nesting on a May 19 survey flight. They were still nesting on the June 17 survey flight but the nest failed. No chicks for them this summer.

Fall 2016: Pair #24-08 and #14-08 migrated south and were observed Nov. 1, 2016 in Richland County, Illinois, together with W10-15 (bandless) and PR 24-13. They were in Morgan Co, Alabama in December.

Cranes 24-13, W10-15, 14-08 (GRW, RW), and 24-08 (RGR,RW) on Illinois wintering grounds
Peter Weber

Spring 2017: Pair #24-08 and #14-08 returned to their Wisconsin territory in Adams County and were nesting by early April. The pair re-nested in Juneau County and were seen incubating on May 12 by Wisconsin DNR pilot Beverly Paulan. Two chicks hatched, W7-17 and W8-17, on or about May 30! W8 was last seen alive June 14. W7 survived, and by the July 18th aerial survey was still doing well in the care of the parents.

Last updated: 7/18/17
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