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

Crane # 19-11(DAR)

Date Hatched

June 29, 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
We suspect that Gelato will be a strong and successful bird. Gelato went outside at only 1 day of age! This was the youngest age at which the handlers had taken a bird outside. At one day of age, Gelato astonished them by walking right into the pond and starting to SWIM! He also followed the costume around the yard after his swim. Gelato is an escape artist, too. He got out of his brooder box even when the costumed handlers were unable to see any exit place! Jackie says Gelato has been excited to explore the outsdoors every time the costume is around. "He has been one of the most active and intelligent of this year's Direct Autumn Release (DAR) chicks." More news about Gelato will be coming.

On September 20, he was transported with his 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 he was banded with his permanent leg band colors. On October 21 he was set free to hang out with sandhill cranes on the refuge. The team hopes he'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 #19) 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: Happy news came in February, when ICF tracker Eva reported #19-11, who had been missing since leaving on migration on November 16, finally reappeared! "He was reported today (2/9) in Fayette County, Illinois, but was also seen at this location on February 5."

Spring 2012: Crane #19-11 (DAR) was still at his Fayette County, Illinois, winter location during Eva's tracking flight on March 26th, but he returned to Adams/Portage County, Wisconsin and summered with female #9-10.

Fall 2012: Crane #19-11 (DAR) migrated with female #9-10 to Illinois.

Spring 2013: On April 11, cranes #19-11 and #9-10 were confirmed back in Adams County, Wisconsin! (They would not have been flying the last few days due to unfavorable weather conditions, so they likely have been around since at least April 8, noted tracker Eva Szyszkoski.)

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

Spring 2014: Crane pair #19-11 DAR & 17-11 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 #17-11 DAR November 14-17. They wintered in Alabama at Wheeler NWR and vicinity.

Spring 2015: Crane pair #19-11 DAR and #17-11 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 #19-11 DAR and #17-11 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 #19-11 DAR and #17-11 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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