Photo: International Crane Foundation
Meet the Class of 2011 Whooping Crane Chicks!
Hatch-year 2011 of the Eastern Flock

Crane # 15-11 (DAR)

Date Hatched

June 11, 2011



Egg Source

Leg Bands

(Attached before fall migration)

Left Leg Right Leg
(VHF radio transmitter)


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

Personality as a Chick
"Lam is a role model and a good sibling to the younger chicks," says intern Jackie. We have taken her out with a couple others to get them used to being around each other. Lam is bigger than the other chicks, but she did not shown aggression toward them, though she has surely received some! Lamington learned to eat on her own fairly fast and for that we are very thankful as it's a hard task to feed several mouths many times a day." Lamington is an excellent tadpole catcher. More news coming soon.

On September 20, she was transported with her entire cohort of Direct Autum Release chicks to Horicon Refuge. She will spend the next few weeks in an enclosure and under supervision at this release site. On Ocober 14 she was banded with her permanent leg band colors. On October 21 she was set free to hang out with sandhill cranes on the refuge. The team hopes she'll follow them south on migration, and learn where to go. Tracking Crew Chief Eva said that when the DAR birds were released, seven of them (including #15) hung out in one group by themselves; on Oct. 24 they flew a really big loop over the northern end of the refuge. On October 27th this group moved to a small area of marshland in Dane County. They spend the day foraging in some cut corn fields before returning to the marsh habitat to roost in the evening with a few dozen Sandhill cranes.
Images: Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

Migration History

Fall 2011, First Migration: DAR cranes #15-11 and #18-11 arrived at Wheeler NWR in Alabama in early December and spent the winter there among many sandhill cranes. Crane #919 was with them, and two Whooping crane pairs wintered on a separate area of the refuge.
Cranes #15 and #18 (DAR) in the marsh at night after completing their first northward migration in March, 2012.
Image: Eva Szyszkoski, ICF
#15-11 and #18-11 (distance)

Spring 2012: DAR cranes #15-11 and #18-11 departed Alabama's Wheeler NWR on their first northward migration February 26 with their pal #919—and about 60 Sandhill cranes! They were back on Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on March 14th! The two DAR cranes spent the night on one pool while #919 appears to have separated from them and roosted at a different pool. Well done! The two DAR juveniles moved to Marquette County, Wisconsin on March 16, in typical wandering behavior of juveniles. April 12 they were in Fond du Lac County, WI.

Fall 2012: Migrated south and was reported at Wheeler NWR in Alabama in January.

Spring 2013: Female #15-11 (DAR) completed migration to Wisconsin on March 29 with #18-11 (DAR). Here she is with male #6-11 in mid April, near White River Marsh (where the male trained with the ultalights for his first migration south):

#15-11 and #6-11 back in Wisconsin
Image: Renny Stephen.

Fall 2013: Migrated south to Wheeler NWR in Alabama.

Spring 2014: Completed migration to Dane County, Wisconsin by March 19, with #6-11 DAR, 17-07, 7-12 and the young DAR 59-13 (Latke). They all left Wheeler NWR in Alabama on March 5 and made their way north. The four older birds left the juvenile #59-13 in Dane County on March 21 when they continued to Necedah NWR.

Group of five Whooping Cranes, including Latke, after completing spring migration to Wisconsin.
Image: Eva Szyszkoski, International Crane Foundation

Fall 2014: Cranes #6-11/15-11 DAR and #38-08 DAR moved from their summering territory in Wood County, WI, to a staging location in Marquette County, WI by September 28. They left on migration on Oct. 30th or 31st, and wintered at Wheeler NWR in Alabama..

Spring 2015: Cranes #15-11 DAR and #8-11 returned to Juneau County, Wisconsin without their pal #38-08 DAR, who remained behind in Wheeler County, Alabama until she finally was seen with them back in Wisconsin in August.

Fall 2015: Cranes 15-11 DAR, #6-11, and #38-08 DAR were first seen on their wintering grounds at Wheeler NWR on November 20, 2015. They stayed at Wheeler until December 5, 2015, when they moved to McNairy County Tennessee for the rest of the winter. They were first reported back in Wisconsin on March 8.

Spring 2016: Crane pair #15-11 DAR and #6-11 were first reported back in Wisconsin on March 8, and were seen on a nest on March 30 by Wisconsin DNR pilot Bev Paulan. They were seen on a second nest on May 6, but hatched no surviving chicks this summer.

Fall 2016: By Nov. 13, female #15-11 DAR had migrated to Morgan Co, Alabama, where she remained.

Spring 2017: Female #15-11 DAR returned to Juneau County, Wisconsin. In a surprising turn of events, she and another female (#38-08 DAR) were seen sitting on a nest when Wisconsin DNR pilot Beverly Paulan spotted them on May 12. On May 30, they were off that nest and the eggs were smashed. This is anomalous behavior and the only explanations the team has been able to come up with are: One of the genders is inaccurate, OR  they’re incubating infertile/un-viable eggs, OR a nearby bachelor male paid a visit. Bev will continue to monitor the nests as time permits to see what happens next. ??



Last updated: 6/10/17



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