Eastern Flock Chicks: Hatch Year 2013
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Group 1

Learn to migrate
by following ultralight airplanes

Group 1 chicks
are captive-born.

Crane chick #1-13
Crane #1-13
(Died Apr. 2014)

Crane chick #2-13
Crane #2-13
(Died Jan. 2015)

Crane chick #3-13
Crane #3-13
(Died Apr. 2014)

Crane chick #5-13
Crane #5-13 (Died Nov.2014)


Crane chick #7-13
Crane #7-13
(Died Jan. 2015)

Crane chick #8
Crane #8-13

(Died Jan. 2015)

Crane chick #9-13Crane #9-13

Above Photos: Operation Migration
Group 2 Direct Autumn Release (DAR)

Learn to migrate
by following older cranes in the flock

Group 2 chicks are also captive-born. In fall the chicks are released on Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in the company of older cranes from whom the young birds learn the migration route in a program called Direct Autumn Release (DAR).

The DAR birds were transported to Horicon NWR ON September 3. After being released on about Oct. 22, they will make their first southbound migration by following other Whooping and Sandhill cranes.

2013 DAR crane Radar

2013 DAR crane Squiggy

#50-13 (M)
(Died Jan. 2014)

#51-13 (F)
(Died Jan. 2014)
2013 DAR crane Hawkeye
2013 DAR crane Maude
2013 DAR crane Fonzi
2013 DAR crane Epstein
2013 DAR crane Klinger

#52-13 (F)

(Died 11/12/13)

#53-13 (M)
(Died 11/12/13)

#54-13 (F)
(Died Jan. 2014)

#55-13 (M)
(Died 12/2013)
#56-13 (F)
(Died 12/2013)

2013 DAR crane Mork

2013 DAR crane Latka
#57-13 (M)
(Died May 2015)

#59-13 (F)
Group 3 Wild Hatched

Learn to migrate by following their parents

Group 3 chicks are wild-born. Their parents raise them and teach them to migrate. This is the natural way cranes learn to migrate. One day, this flock will be large enough for wild-born parents to take over. Then human-assisted migration will no longer be needed.

Wild-hatched baby W1-13 from an airplane view on July 23
(died on wintering grounds after first migration)
Image: Bev Paulan, Wisconsin DNR pilot
Group 4 Parent Reared (PR)

Learn to migrate by following their "adopted" parents

Group 4 chicks are captive-born for this newest part (begun in 2013) of the reintroduction program. These four chicks were hatched in June and raised by cranes in the captive breeding flock at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. They were transported in autumn to the Necedah NWR and each released near a selected older crane pair in hopes the pair would adopt the youngster. Experts believe the chicks have a greater likelihood to learn from the paired adults by staying with them through migration and their first winter.

PR #20-13 (Female) (VHF) Red: Red/White/Green (PTT) | Died Oct., 2013 before migration.
PR #21-13 (Female) (VHF) Red: White/Green (PTT) | Died Oct., 2013 before migration.
PR #22-13 (Male): Green/white (PTT): R (VHF). Completed his first spring migration to WI/MN in 2014 and wandered from MN to WI, IL and IN through spring and summer. Migrated from Illinois to his previous wintering territory at the Hiwassee WR, Meigs County, Tennessee, for winter 2014-15. He began his journey north March 8/9 and was the eastern flock's FIRST known whooper to return to Necedah NWR in spring 2015, arriving March 12-13. Male #22-13 was found dead, likely due to predation, on 9/16/15. He was undergoing molt at the time of his death.
PR #24-13 (Male) White/Green (PTT): Red (VHF). Completed 2013 fall migration south and spring migration 2014 back to Necedah NWR in WI. Migrated south in fall 2014 to Knox County Indiana with other cranes from the flock and moved with several of them to Wheeler NWR in Alabama in January 2015. He returned to Necedah NWR in Wisconsin by April 2015 and back south to Greene County, IN by November 15. Return signal heard at Necedah area March 30, 2016 after spring migration. Seen all summer 2016 with W10-15 at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. They migrated south and were on their wintering grounds Nov. 1, 2016 in Richland County, Illinois and then Green County, Indiana with other Whooping Cranes for the rest of the winter. Spring 2017: Returned to Juneau County, Wisconsin and was with female #23-10.