Photo: Marianne Wellington

Meet the 2009 DAR Whooping Crane Chicks!
Crane DAR #40-09

Date Hatched

June 18 , 2009



Pre-Migr. Weight: 4.8 kg

Egg Source: International Crane Foundation (ICF)

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 40-09 is a mild mannered and very independent little crane. She is happy to be foraging for herself, eating any purple flowers she can find, and walking the banks of the ponds in the chick yards. She is an avid eater. She grew quickly, which resulted in her legs growing inward to help support her heavy weight. Even though she was exercised and fed to the daily limit, she still gained more than 15% of her body weight a day. She was on a swimming routine to help her lose weight and, we hope, help her legs grow straighter. She has a pink band on the right leg.

By the first of September, 40-09 was flying!

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 40-09 was released at ERP on the refuge along with DAR 41-09 and 42-09. They roosted together there the first night, but returned to Site 3 the next day and joined DAR 32-09 and 38-09. They were later joined there by their other flockmates. On November 1 all DAR juveniles (except 36-09 and 42-09) 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 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. 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, and 506, DAR 37-09 and DAR 40-09 were visually confirmed a few days later. Migration complete! By mid April Eva said these three DAR females continued to follow male #506.

Crane 40-09 (DAR) was euthanized on August 16, 2010 due to a severely dislocated left hip that caused her much pain and was not healing. She had been reported with an injured left leg in the Mill Bluff area near Necedah NWR on August 1. She was captured and transported to Necedah NWR for care and treatment at Necedah NWR, but she suffered and did not get better.

Last updated: 8/31/10

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