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

Crane # 914 (#14-09)

Date Hatched

May 16 , 2009



Egg Source

International Crane Foundation

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:

Bev said, "914 has very fat little legs and is so dark, she reminds me of a little Kodiak bear. She is also the most trusting of all the chicks. When Brooke took 914 for a walk, my heart almost melted. I looked over at the two of them and saw this little tiny fuzz ball, just 5 days old, following the costume, looking up at the huge white body next to her. She just toddled along, slowly, but never more than a step behind Brooke." Later, 913 and 914 would whirl around "like dervishes as they try to peck each others necks." The puppet reached down and gently moved between them to separate them and 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!

As the days passed, 914 emerged as the "queen" of her little group, Cohort Two.

July training in Wisconsin
Photo Operation Migration

Notes of Flight School in Wisconsin:
She was flown to Wisconsin with Cohort #2 chicks on July 2. Chick 914 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 run, hop and flap but cannot yet fly.

One day near the end of July, 8 of the 9 chicks in Cohort 2 followed the ultralight well on a lap down the runway. But on the return lap, 914 and 908 decided to join naughty 918 in the swamp. Meeting up with the swamp monster (which Richard deployed from the trike by yanking on a string attached to a broom out in the swamp) convinced both 914 and 908 to leap back over the fence and get back on the runway and then into their pen. 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. As the weeks went on, this cohort (middle birds) grew to be the most independent of all the birds, and #914 had become the most submissive.

On Sep. 22 OM Intern Geoffrey watched 914 boss 928. "I figured she wouldn’t have it in her to throw her weight around anyone else but 925, another equally passive bird. But then again, I guess it isn’t hard to push around a smaller, younger, asthmatic chick," said Geoff. Female #914 also has staredowns with #925. It's as though the two most submissive females were arguing about who is the MOST submissive!

October 11: They missed the target migration date, but on October 11, the team tried to combine a training session with a short flight over to a remote part of the refuge where a travel pen was set up. Only six birds cooperated, and 914 was not one of them. She took a pounding from the adult pair, who literally flattened her in the tall grass as she tried to run for cover into the nearby woods. There was some blood on her back and she was scared when the costumes approached, but they patiently played calls from the vocalizers to calm her. Brooke arrived to help as they walked her back out through the thick brush. Erin stayed with 914 while Bev and Brooke readied a crate. Soon 914 was loaded onto the back of the truck for the drive to the travel pen site. There she was released and went into the pen to join 8 other flockmates, the only ones who made it over to the new pen that day. She seems just fine after her adventure.

First Migration South: Chick #914 (and 14 others!) turned back to Necedah NWR when the Class of 2009 left on their first migration on October 16, 2009. They all had to try again the next day to follow the ultralights to the migration's first stopover site, where five flockmates landed on Day 1. Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #914 below.

Oct. 27: Again on today's flight crane 914 (and several others) didn't follow well. They turned back to old Stopover #1 and had to be boxed and driven to Stopover #2.

Nov. 1: Hooray! 914 (and ALL the others!) flew the distance to Stopover #3. No crates needed! Now they may have the confidence to keep going like this.

Bev says 914 is obtaining her red crown patch already. The tawny feathers are shedding, revealing the bare red skin beneath.

Nov 20: Crane 914 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 13, 2010, Day 82: Migration complete for the "St. Marks 10:" #906, 908, 910, 911, 912, 914, 915, 918, 925, and 926! Crane 914 flew all but 12 miles of this migration!

Spring 2010, First Journey North: Eight of the St. Marks juveniles left at mid-day March 24 on their first journey north! According to a PTT reading from #908, she (and probably #915 #910, #911, #914, #918, #925 and #926) reached Shelby County, Alabama— about 260 miles from the pen! Their next flight took them an additional 380 miles to Monroe County, IN, where an observer photo confirmed that they were all still together. As of March 29 they had flown another 73 miles to the Fountain County, IN, roughly 70 miles due east of the Piatt Co., IL stopover used during their ultralight-guided journey south last fall. Tracker Eva said a PTT reading for #915 on March 31 put them in Monroe County, Wisconsin. On April 1 Sara picked up their signals in the Necedah area. They successfully completed migration!" HOORAY!!!!!

Fall 2010: Crane #419 (14-09) was found at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Alachua County, Florida, during an aerial survey on December 13, migration complete. She moved to another area in Florida in early February.

Spring 2011: Female #914 (14-09) remained at her wintering site in Alachua County, Florida at least through last check on March 24.

Fall 2011: A pair of cranes believed to be female #914 (14-09) and mate #1-01, were observed on a pond at the male's usual wintering location in Citrus County, Florida, by a neighorhood mother and son on December 5. They had been watching for the pair to return! The pair spent the winter in the area.

Spring 2012: Female #14-09 and mate #1-01 were found back at their summering area on March 23 but had likely arrived at least by March 22, reported tracker Eva Szyszkoski. The pair built a nest but did not lay any eggs in the 2012 breeding season. The were together on their territory all summer, and through fall migration and winter.

Fall 2012:

Spring 2013: The pair #914 (14-09) and male #1-01 completed spring migration to the Wisconsin summer nesting grounds on March 29.

Fall 2013: Female 14-09 and male 1-01 migrated south to Citrus County, Florida for the winter.

Spring 2014 Crane pair 14-09/1-01 began migration from Citrus County, Florida, on 14 or 15 March. They were reported in Bartow County, Georgia, on 16 March and Larue County, Kentucky, on 21 March. As of April 2, 2014, they had not yet been confirmed back in Wisconsin.

Fall 2014 Female #14-09, the bird that frequented Volk Field with then-mate #1-01, was confirmed with her new matel, #12-09, in Knox County, Indiana.

NOTE: Crane #14-09 regularly had been wintering in a neighborhood in Citrus County, Florida, before #1-01’s removal from the wild population to live in captivity at Zoo New England on May 29, 2014. Tracking field Manager Eva Szyszkoski hopes that new mate #12-09 will influence #14-09 to change her habits and possibly her final wintering location. If #12-09's influence carries over into spring, this new pair may abandon #14-09's Volk Field territory for #12-09’s previous summering locations just west of the Necedah NWR.

Spring 2015 Female #14-09 wintered with her new mate #12-09 in Gibson County, Indiana, where she was seen alive on April 16. On April 29 her remains were found there; she had likely died on or by April 18.

Last updated: 5/10/14

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