Meet the Class of 2010 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2010 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 16-10

Date Hatched

May 26, 2010



Egg Source

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Leg Bands

(Attached after reaching Florida)

Left Leg Right Leg
 radio antenna

Temporary/migration band: orange 16

  • 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:

A story about her parents: Chick #16-10 came from an egg laid right at Patuxent WRC. The parents were two Whooping Cranes called the “S35 pair,” a pair that has become one of my favorites. Because many of the captive birds are related, we often have to do “arranged” pairings. We let the two cranes live next door to get to know each other. Then we ‘date’ them, allowing them to share a pen, but under supervision, to make sure they get along. If they seem to like each other, they eventually progress to the point where they live together all the time, unsupervised. The process can last anywhere from a few weeks to over a year! Sometimes the birds don’t hit it off and we start over again, but in this case it worked. They formed a strong pair bond and have been producing chicks for several years. This year, S35 female laid the eggs that later hatched into #5-10, #15-10 and #16-10.

-Jane Chandler, Patuxent WRC

Notes from "Flight School" at Necedah NWR in Wisconsin:

Chick #16-10 left the "hatchery" and "Ground School" in Maryland for an airplane trip to Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on July 9 with other cohort 2 chicks. (What was her age on that day?)

She passed her arrival health check with Dr. Barry Hartup and was soon happily at home in Canfield pen with the other new arrivals. She was eager to explore and munch on bugs and little frogs. As the day went on, she found some cooler shade with the chicks to escape the hot Wisconsin sun.

Geoff called her sort of a thug. "She wasn’t above going after #11-10 (Louis) and #17-10 when she was left alone with them. Geoff was glad she grew out of that before leaving Patuxent. "I don’t think she’s particularly smart either," said Geoff. "I remember her needing more guidance than other chicks while getting walked as a tiny chick. But she made progress faster than #5 or #9 did when they were her age. But because of that, she sort of goes along with the group. I’ve never really seen her wander off anywhere on her own. Wherever #11 or #17 are, she’s usually not far behind them. She also seems to have lost much of her fighting spirit, as #11 (Louis) is able to put her in her place. I call her Frances."

On September 11 she didn't come back from the training flight with the rest of her cohort 2 group. She dropped out in the marsh. After Richard landed with the other four birds, Brooke lured her out of the marsh and Charlie walked her back to the wet pen.

All this time Geoff thought #16-10 had changed from a feisty chick into a bird who went along with the group. She wasn’t even one of the more dominant birds of the cohort any more. They got a BIG surprise when they mixed the two cohorts in late September! "Those first couple of times the two cohorts mingled on the runway she tried to shake down every bird in cohort one! She even had big birds like #3-10 and #1-10 on the run. Seeing the feisty dame jab, pursue, or even stomp some of these other chicks sent shivers down Geoff's spine.

First Migration South, Led by Ultralight Airplane: Chick #16-10 left Necedah NWR on her first migration on October 10, 2010. She was one of seven to take off with Richard's plane. Find day-by-day news about the flock's migration and read more about #16-10 below.

Day 1, October 10: She was one of three dropouts that landed with only 2 miles left to go to reach the first stopover. Even though she finished the trip in a crate by car, she flew a great 21 miles on her first day.

Day 63, Dec. 11: Yesterday was the last time all ten birds will fly together as a group. Today #16-10 and the other four birds that will winter at Chassahowitzka NWR flew 86 miles closer to their final destination! They're now in Gilchrist County, FL, with only 86 miles and two flights to go! [But they would have to wait for their next flight until January 14, 2011 due to reason's beyond the team's control.]

Day 72, Jan. 14: Finally in the air again! After so many days in the pen, the Chass Five gave pilots Joe and Richard a rodeo before they got on course to Marion County and the flyover arrival celebration. One more flight gets them to their winter home!

Day 73, Jan. 15: First migration to Chassahowitzka NWR complete!

Winter at the Chass Release Pen: Of the five Chass youngsters, female #16-10 "is the agreeable and sort of nondescript one…not causing any ruckus and just being adorable," reports Eva from the release site in February.

Young cranes #16-10 and #17-10 in Florida.

Female #16-10 gets nipped when she gets too near troublemaker #17-10.
Photos: Eva Szyszkoski

An earlier photo of #16 (right) and #17 (left). How have they changed in appearance as time passed?

Spring 2011: She remained at the Chass pen site with #16 several days after their three flockmates left on April 4. The last two in the Class of 2010 to migrate, #16 and #15 finally left on Sunday, April 17. They roosted that night in Thomas County, Georgia. With favorable winds, they resumed migretion the next day, April 18, at 9:15 a.m. and landed around 5:15 p.m. in Cherokee County, AL. They eluded tracker Eva the next morning (see Eva's report about that) and were not detected again until May 8, when Eva detected them in flight near Necedah NWR at 11:42 a.m. At 5:00 p.m. Eva saw them circling over a lake and they landed soon after.

Spring 2012: Female 16-10 was last VISUALLY observed with sandhill cranes in Ottawa County, Michigan on May 6, 2012.

Spring 2013: Missing since May 2012.

Spring 2014: Female #16-10 was presumed dead and removed from the flock's population totals after being missing since May 2012.

Last updated: 3/04/14