Meet the 2009 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2009 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 913

Date Hatched

May 14, 2009



Egg Source

Calgary Zoo, Canada

Leg Bands

(Attached after reaching Florida)

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.

Personality, Early Training
Notes from the captive breeding "hatchery" at Patuxent WRC in Maryland:

Some chicks learn how to eat rapidly, others take awhile. Little 912 and 913, who are siblings, took at least 4 days before they started eating and drinking to the satisfaction of the costumes/trainers. Soon they were robust little birds!

In the first days of outdoor walks in little groups, chicks 913 and 914 would whirl around "like dervishes as they try to peck each others necks." Each time the puppet reached down and gently moved between them to separate them as costumed Bev flapped her white sleeve to distract them. Then Bev would start to run and encourage the chicks to follow her instead of pummeling each other.

July training in Wisconsin
Photo Operation Migration

Notes of Flight School in Wisconsin:
He was flown to Wisconsin with Cohort #2 chicks on July 2. Chick 913 and all the others settled into their new pen just fine! The next day they trained with the trike on the grassy runway (with their old pal, Robo-crane). The chicks could run, hop and flap but not yet fly. However, by the end of July the cohort #2 birds were all flying in ground effect, a few feet off the grassy strip, and close to gaining good altitude.

Bev reported on August 10: The mid-aged birds (Cohort 2) are the most independent group. This was obvious during training, and at the evening roost check, when the handlers stood in the pen for several moments before these chicks lazily wandered over. Chick 913 was usually the third (after 915 and 912) to come into the dry pen at night roost check. He became a very good flier and follower of the plane. He is neutral with the costumes, accepting that they are dominant over him. But he is curious about what the costumes are doing when they sweep under the feeders to clean up spilled food. He appears to be supervising the sweeiping! By mid September this chohort flew well togeher. They flew for 53 minutes on September 18, and the whole month had wonderful training weather.

Nov 20: Crane 913 was one of the 16 who flew off on this exercise day and didn't come back! The 16 flew more than 15 miles before Richard located and caught up to them. He then turned them on courseand led them to safe landing at the next planned stopover. Until today, this has never happened since the pilots began leading whoopers south in 2001.

January 20, 2010, Day 89: Migration complete for the "Chass 10:" #901, 903, 904, 905, 907, 913, 919, 924, 927, and 929! Male 913 flew all but 4 miles of this migration!

March 13: The nine remaining chicks at Chass (#903 was killed by a predator) with adult pair #105 and #501were beginning to show signs of migration restlessness. Eva said, "It was a windy night and they continued to fly around, land, fly around, land, fly around, land…well, you get the picture. This is typical behavior for the chicks before they decide to head back north. Although it would be a little on the early side for them to be leaving this week, we are not sure if the adult pair will entice the chicks to leave earlier than they would otherwise."

Spring 2010, First Journey North: The "Chass 9" crane kids (901, 904, 905, 907, 913, 919, 924, 927 and 929) began migration on April 5 at 10:00 a.m. With them were subadults 824, 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 6:00 p.m. The Chass group, now minus #907, who took off on her own in the early morning of April 6, 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 two groups. Both groups continued migration the next day (April 10) and the group of three (#913, 919 and 927) was tracked to Waukesha County, Wisconsin where they dropped out early, likely because the very strong winds from the west made it extremely difficult for them to keep going west. Cranes #913 and #919 were detected in flight over the core reintroduction area in Wisconsin on May 16. They were next reported in Ransom County, North Dakota, on May 22 and 25.

Fall 2010: Cranes #913 and #919 were seen in Madison County, Illinois. They were last reported flying over Chassahowitzka NWR pensite in Citrus County, Florida, on December 2.

Fall 2011/Winter 2012: Male 913 was presumed dead and removed from the population total in February 2012 after being missing for over a year.

Last updated: 2/20/12

Back to "Meet the Flock 2009"