Photo: Marianne Wellington

Meet the 2009 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!
Crane DAR #34-09

Date Hatched

June 15 , 2009



Pre-Migr. Weight: 4.2 kg

Egg Source: USGS Patuxent WRC

Leg Bands


Left Leg
Right Leg


  • Read more about the raising and naming of the DAR chicks.
    *Scroll to bottom for most recent history.*

DAR 34-09 hatched from an egg provided to the DAR project by USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland. Being the first of the chicks in this block, 34-09 was fairly aggressive when younger. Recently we have been able to exercise 34, 36 and 38-09 together. Until the permanent bands are attached, Chick 34-09 has double red bands on her right leg.

She was flying well by the end of August, along with most of the DAR chicks, and doing just great.

October weather brought sun, wind, rain and snow. The chicks seemed to enjoy testing their wings in the winds. Several days they birds made flights where they were almost out of view flying both to the north and south of their pen site. A couple of times they were out of view for a period of time, and someof the flew over to visit the ultralight chicks in their pen! We couldn't tell which chicks did that because they didn't get banded until Oct. 13. They are building up their flight strength in these final days or weeks before migration.

The nine DAR cranes were released on the evening of October 24 on the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Signals from the radio transmitters on the birds' leg bands will help biologists from ICF and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as they track movements of the released DAR cranes now and throughout their migration. Stay tuned!

Fall 2009: DAR 35-09 and 34-09 were released together on the west end of Pool 9 near adult #509. They roosted that night at this location with adults 303, 317, and 509. On October 28 they joined the other DAR juveniles at Site 3 and East Rynearson Pool (ERP) and remained in that general area. On November 1 they joined all DAR juveniles (except for two) and flew in undirected flight over Monroe and Juneau Counties for at least 70 minutes before returning to Site 3. Are they getting restless? Will they soon follow older cranes south to learn the migration route, as experts hope they will?

They were still on or near the refuge by Nov. 30, in a large group that included DAR 32-09, 34-09, 35-09, 36-09, 37-09, 40-09, and 41-09. They sometimes separated into 2 or 3 small groups for brief periods. They were almost always associating with various other Sandhill and/or Whooping cranes, particularly #506 and 713.

Notes by Marianne Wellington, ICF. Thank you!


Migration History

First Migration, Fall 2009: On Dec. 11 it was snowing, but that's when the birds left on migration! When Eva checked that morning, "there was no sign of any of the 11 cranes that had seemed perfectly content roosting on ice and standing in the brisk winter wind for the last week." Those birds were adult pair #307 and 726, two single males (#506 and #713) and seven of this year's nine DAR chicks: 32-09, 34-09, 35-09, 36-09, 37-09, 40-09 and 41-09. It was too snowy for tracking vehicles to head out, but that evening they received satellite PTT readings on two of the four DAR birds with PTTs. They had reached Winnebago County, Illinois! The birds had moved on by the time trackers got there the next day. Eva said, "When we finally got a reading, we were all surprised to see that they had flown east of Indianapolis, Indiana, 240 miles southeast of their last location and right on track with the main migration route for Sandhill Cranes. I arrived at the location and heard all 11 signals coming from the same area. But I could not see them since it was dark outside." The next morning they made a couple of local movements before traveling only 50 miles to the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, near the Indiana/Kentucky Border. In the three days these birds have been on migration, the first ever migration for the seven chicks, they flew a total of 430 miles.

Photos Eva SzyszKoski, ICF

On January 3 these 7 DAR chicks finally moved from Indiana to Tennessee with the 4 adults. They were near the Hiwassee refuge Monday Jan. 4, but later moved a little further south. Three of those adults split off and continued their migration to Florida where I found them yesterday. "Adult male #506 remains with the chicks, and there’s a good likelihood these birds will remain in this area for the rest of the winter, but we’ll just have to wait and see," said tracker Sara. Crane #506 and the seven 2009 DAR chicks were next in Jefferson County, Kentucky! They moved to Adair County, Kentucky on February 12 or 13.They moved to Adair County, Kentucky on February 12 or 13 and stayed until Feb. 28.

Spring 2010: Cranes 506 and youngsters DAR 32-09, 34-09, 35-09, 36-09, 37-09, 40-09 and 41-09 were reported back in Jefferson County, KY on March 1. They migrated from there to Muscatatuck NWR, Jackson County, Indiana, on March 5. On March 15 or 16 they separated into two groups. Juveniles #34-09, 35-09, 36-09, and 41-09 remained at Muscatatuck NWR at least until April 1 and were detected in Juneau or Adams County (MIGRATION COMPLETE) during an aerial survey on April 5.

Fall 2010: Migrating females #34-09 (DAR) and #35-09 (DAR) departed from Muscatatuck NWR in Indiana during 6-9 December. They wandered and it is not known where they spent the winter.

Spring 2011: Females #34-09 (DAR) and #35-09 (DAR) wintered at an unknown location and were back at Jennings County, Indiana /Muscatatuck NWR on a migration stopover on March 19. They were gone by April 4. They were next reported in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, on 5 and 6 April and in Dane Co, WI on 8 April. On 12 April the signal of #34 was detected W of Wisconsin Rapids during an aerial survey flight, but her signal was not tracked. (Her companion, #35, was detected on/near Necedah NWR on 13 April.)

Fall 2011: Female 34-09 and 38-08 — unknown wintering location. These two had not yet turned up as of Feb. 13 (last detected in Knox/Davies County, Indiana).

Spring 2012: Crane #34-09 (DAR) and #38-09 (DAR) were detected on Necedah NWR on March 23.

Fall 2012:

Spring 2013: Female #34-09 (DAR) and her mate #38-09 (DAR) split on or before spring migration and she is now back in Wisconsin with #1-10 (who had recently split from W1-10).

Fall 2013: Female #34-09 (DAR) wintered in the area of Hopkins County, Kentucky with #1-10 and several other cranes in the Eastern Migratory Flock. ICF tracker Eva took this photo on February 12, 2014:

Wintering adult whoopers (with  one parent-reared chick) in Hopkins County, Kentucky

Spring 2014: Crane #34-09 DAR, with 1-10 and 24/42-09, began migration from their wintering area in Hopkins County, Kentucky, around March 22-24. They arrived in Stephenson County, Illinois, by roost on March 26the and completed migration to Wisconsin on 29/30 March.

Fall 2014: Crane #34-09 DAR, now paired with #4-08 after her previous mate (#10-03) died in October, left the Necedah area on migration November 12. They wintered in Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2015: Crane #34-09 DAR (likely with #4-08, who has a nonfunctional transmitter) was back on territory during the March 25 aerial survey. The pair nested, but the nest had failed by April 15.

Fall 2015: Crane #34-09 DAR and mate #4-08, migrated south again to Green County, Indiana, where they were seen in November.

Spring 2016: Crane #34-09 DAR and mate #4-08 returned to Wisconsin and were observed still nesting on June 7 in an aerial survey. Their new chick, W21-16, hatched on June 7 but did not survive into the summer.

Fall 2016: Female #34-09 DAR and mate #4-08 migrated south to Green County, Indiana, in early November.

Spring 2017: Crane #34-09 DAR and mate #4-08 returned to Wisconsin and were observed still nesting in April in an aerial survey. First eggs were collected in the Forced Renesting Study. They re-nested and were incubating their second nest when seen on Bev Paulan's May 12 survey flight. On Bev's June 1 flight, she reported the pair away from the nest, no chick seen, and no egg in the nest.


Last updated: 6/10/17

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