Photo: Marianne Wellington

Meet the 2009 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!
Crane DAR #37-09

Date Hatched

June 16 , 2009



Pre-Migr. Weight: 5.2 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 #37-09 has enjoyed food from day one and is growing like a weed. Due to her weight gain, she has been limit-fed and exercised by a swimming routine for several weeks. She is also an aggressive bird so we give her extra exercise on her own. After moving from ICF to nearby Necedah NWR on July 21, she calmed down some. We hope it will take only a few days for her to outgrow her aggression enough to be put with other chicks. We have started short exercise sessions with four of the other DAR chicks but 37-09 and 35-09 still seem to be in competition with each other. Chick #37-09 has a yellow band on her left leg.

By the end of August 37-09 was a good flyer with the other DAR cranes (except the youngest one). She sometimes harrassed the two youngest when their protective buddy 39-09 was not around to chase them off.

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 37-09 DAR was released with DAR 36-09 on northeastern Sprague Pool near adult cranes #311 and 312. DAR 37-09 then roosted near or on a large sandhill crane roost on eastern Sprague Pool while 36-09 flew away to roost on another pool. But the two joined the other DAR birds at Site 3/ERP on October 27. On November 1 37-09 joined all the other DAR juveniles (except 36-09 and 42-09) as they 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 to learn their 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.The seven 2009 DAR chicks and #506 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. PTT data for 32-09 (DAR) indicated a roost location for her and presumably #506, 37-09 (DAR), and 40-09 (DAR) in Champaign County, Illinois. On March 18 PTT data confirmed #32-09 back at Necedah, PTT signals from crane 32-09* (DAR) indicated completion of migration to the Necedah NWR area by the night of March 18 and male #506, DAR 37-09 and DAR 40-09 were confirmed with visuals and signals a few days later. By mid April Eva said these three DAR females continued to follow male #506.

Fall 2010: Female 37-09 (DAR) remained on Horicon NWR in Dodge County, Wisconsin at least through October 15. She and 32-09* (DAR) were detected in flight from Owen County, Indiana, on November 26. She was then reported Cherokee County, Alabama at least until January 8. Trackers reported her in Madison County, Alabama at least through February 14 along with cranes 25-10 (DAR) and 27-10 (DAR), and they had been joined by pair #211/#830 and young 19-10 (DAR).

Spring 2011: Left Madison County, Alabama sometime between Feb. 18-22 in a group with #211 and #830 and #19-10 (DAR), 25-10 (DAR) and 27-10 (DAR). They were reported in Crawford County, IL on March 8-10 and Mar. 14. Minus the pair #211/830, the group was still there March 16 and completed migration to Necedah NWR by March 21. Back at Necedah for the summer, she paired up with male #506 (6-05).

Fall 2011: Female 37-09 (DAR) wintered in Jackson County, Indiana with her new mate #506. After he was shot dead in late December 2011, she stayed a short time by by February 3, 2012, she had moved to Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2012: She was detected in flight headed north over ICF headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin on March 15. She returned to the old territory she had shared with male 506's territory near the Necedah NWR and was joined there by male #8-10 (who had wintered in Madison County, Florida) in late April.

Fall 2012: She migrated south with #8-10 in November and wintered in Greene County, Indiana.

Spring 2013: Female 37-09 DAR was confirmed back on Necedah March 31 but likely arrived on or by March 30, with her mate #8-10. Sadly, on May 12 tracker Eva Szyszkoski found and collected her remains from her summering territory in Juneau County. "Based on tracking records, she died between late May 8 and early May 9," reported Eva.


Last updated: 5/13/13

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