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

Crane # 17-11 (DAR)

Date Hatched

June 17, 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
Zanzibar was even more of a challenge at first than Grasshopper, said intern Jackie. "Zanz was confused and intimidated by the costume, running back to the safely of the fenced run when handlers had her outside. She seemed uninterested or scared outside, yet she always paced to get out whenever she was in!" This shy bird needed a patient and encouraging momma, and all the handlers worked very hard each day to help her develop into the great bird she is today. Stay tuned for more news about Zanzibar.

On September 20, she was transported with her entire cohort of Direct Autum Release chicks to Horicon Refuge to spend the next few weeks in an enclosure and under supervision. 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, all but #17 hung out in one group by themselves; but #17 went right back to the pen site and was hanging out there by herself. She left Horicon two days later than her flockmates, but her location was unknown.
Images: Eva Szyszkoski, ICF


Migration History

Fall 2011, First Migration: Crane #11-17 (DAR) was at Hiwassee State Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee in December, along with #20-11 (DAR). They wintered with thousands of Sandhill cranes and several Whooping cranes. They were still there as of March 20, 2012.


Crane 11-17 (DAR) at Hiwassee
Image: Bret Douglas

Spring 2012: Migrating! It is believed she was with DAR 20-11, and they remained in Dubois Co, IN through at least the morning of Apri 12. Uncertain when they arrived there, but DAR #17-11 (and presumably DAR #20-11) left Dubois County, Indiana, on April 18. Their last satellite readings were at 4pm in Champaign County, Illinois, on that day, probably as they were in flight.

Fall 2012: Migrated south and was reported at Wheeler NWR in Alabama in January 2013.

Spring 2013: Migration completed April 3, together with #20-11.

Fall 2013: Migrated to Wheeler NWR in Alabama with other Whooping Cranes.

Spring 2014: Crane pair #17-11 DAR & 19-11 DAR, with 3-11, 4-11, pair #26-09 & 27-06 and DAR 38-09 began migration from the Wheeler NWR in Alabama on 15-18 February. This large group was reported in Gibson County, Indiana, on 21 February. They then moved to Lawrence County, Illinois, by the next day and were seen with an eighth (and unknown) bird that might be #26-10. Remained in Illinois/Indiana until at least early March 2014. Found on the Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on 28 March but then moved to their territory in Adams County shortly after that. Were observed with a nest platform this spring but did not have any eggs.

Fall 2014: Departed Adams County, WI with #19-11 DAR during November 14-17. They wintered in Alabama at Wheeler NWR and vicinity.

Spring 2015: Crane pair #17-11 DAR and 19-11 DAR returned to Adams County, Wisconsin and nested. Wisconsin DNR pilot Bev Paulan suspected they were with a chick on her June 8 survey flight. A later flight confirmed the chick did not survive.

Fall 2015: Crane pair #17-11 DAR and 19-11 DAR were still in in Juneau County, Wisconsin, as of Nov. 24. They were then seen throughout the winter in Morgan County, Alabama at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

Spring 2016:
Pair #17-11 DAR and 19-11 DAR were first seen back on the breeding grounds on March 29th, 2016 and spent the spring on their territory —partially on Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and partially on private lands. The pair were seen sitting on a nest, but eggs or chicks were never confirmed.

Fall 2016: Crane pair #17-11 DAR and 19-11 DAR migrated south to Alabama in December.

Spring 2017: Pair #17-11 DAR and 19-11 DAR were back on territory at Necedah NWR and nesting by early April.

Last updated: 4/12/17

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