Photo: Marianne Wellington

Meet the 2009 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!
Crane DAR #35-09

Date Hatched

June 15 , 2009



Pre-Migr. Weight: 5.1 kg

Egg Source: ICF

Leg Bands


Left Leg
Right Leg

*Original G/W replaced with new code in September 2013.

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

DAR 35-09 and 36-09 are offspring of birds at ICF. DAR 35-09 has been a bit aggressive and still was not able to be exercised with another chick when we left for Necedah NWR on July 21. On July 22 we tried her in a group of 3 birds (DAR 34, 36 & 38). There was very little squabbling and these four are now exercising together all the time. DAR 35-09 and 37-09 still seem to be in competition with each other. DAR 35-09 is banded blue over white on the left leg.

She was doing really well and flying well by the end of August.

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!

Notes by Marianne Wellington, ICF. Thank you!

Fall 2009: DAR 34-09 and 35-09 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).

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: DAR 35-09, along with cranes 506 and other DAR youngsters 32-09, 34-09, 36-09, 37-09, 40-09 and 41-09 began migration together but later 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 for the summer.

Fall 2010: Migrating females #35-09 (DAR) and #34-09 (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 #35-09 (DAR) and #34-09 (DAR) wintered at an unknown location and were back at Jennings County, Indiana /Muscatatuck NWR on a migration stopover on March 19 through April 4. They were next reported in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, on April 5 and 6, then in Dane County, Wisc. on 8 April 8. Crane #35-09 (DAR) was detected on/near Necedah NWR on April 13.

Fall 2011: Migrated with #906 and spent the winter in Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2012: She was detected in flight headed north over ICF headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin on March 15 with #906. Close to home!

Fall/Winter 2012- 2013: Wintered in Green County, Indiana.

Spring 2013: If bands were reported correctly, Crane #35-09 (DAR) was among three adult whoopers reported March 26 in a reclaimed wetland area of an Illinois quarry. "They have been loafing and feeding in the same area of the wetland for at least the last 2 days," reported the observer. Their current location is 4 miles from the Livingston Co., IL stopover site of the ultralight-led migration south for male #6-09, one of the birds in the trio. Perhaps he's the leader of their journey north? The third bird is #27-10 (DAR). The three completed migration to Necedah NWR March 29! By late April or early May cranes #35-09 DAR and #6-09 were reported nesting—but abandoned their nest in early May when a large outbreak of black flies may have been the reason for several other crane nests also being abandoned. The pair did not hatch any chicks this summer

Fall/Winter 2013- 2014: Female #35-09 (DAR) was captured in September and trackers replaced both of her nonfunctional transmitters. Her new band colors appear at the top of this page, replacing the originals. She was likely among seven Whooping Cranes reported in Rutherford County, Tennessee, on January 24 and in a group of seven reported in Franklin County, Tennessee, on January 29. Her signal was detected in Greene County, Indiana, during an aerial survey flight on February 12. Sad news came when conservation officers found her partially buried remains from this location on Feb. 19. Cause of death was a gunshot—making her the fourth gunshot Whooping crane in Indiana.


Last Updated: 3/4/14

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