Eastern Flock Chicks: Hatch Year 2014
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Group 1

Learn to migrate
by following ultralight airplanes

Group 1 chicks
are captive-born.

Crane chick #2-14
Crane #2-14
(Died 3/15/2015)

Crane chick #3-14
Crane #3-14
Crane chick #4-14
Crane #4-14

Crane chick #8-14
Crane #8-14

(Died Mar. 2017)

Crane chick #9-14
Crane #9-14
(Died Jan. 2016)

Crane chick #5-12
Crane #10-14
(Died 1/1/2016)

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).

*This year's four DAR chicks were released into the non-migratory Whooping Crane population at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in southwest Louisiana instead of the eastern migratory population (EMP) in Wisconsin.*

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.

A total of 13 chicks hatched to wild pairs in Wisconsin this summer. Only W3-14 survived to fledge and complete fall migration. She was killed by a Wisconsin predator in April 2015, after completing her first spring migration.

Wild-hatched crane chick W3-14 and parents in Wisconsin in July
Group 4 Parent Reared (PR)

Learn to migrate by following their "adopted" parents

Group 4 chicks are captive-born, reared by adult "parents" in the captive breeding flock, and each released in fall near a wild crane pair without chicks in hopes the pair will adopt the youngster and lead it on migration. This is the second year for this part of the Whooping Crane reintroduction program. Parent-reared birds are released in Wisconsin before fall migration 2014.

PR 19-14 (Female): white (PTT); red/green, was released near adult pair.#9-05 and #13-03 on 23 September. She remained with the pair through at least 25 September but was not located with the adults by the evening of 26 September. Instead, she successfully migrated with adult pair #7-07 and #39-07 to their winter territory in Georgia. The new family arrived November 23, 2014 and remained together at their wintering location in Lowndes County, Georgia, until starting migration north on 7/8 March, 2015. She later completed migration to Necedah NWR . Fall 2015: #19-14 migrated to Knox County, Indiana, and spent the winter with male #29-08. Spring 2016: Returned to Wisconsin by March 30. In summer she began associateding with male #12-05. Fall 2016: Migrated to Gibson County and Knox County, Indiana with male #12-05. Spring 2017: Returned with mate #12-15 and the pair nested but the nest failed.
PR 20-14 (Female): red/green; white/green (PTT). She was released near adult pair #10-03 and #34-09 on 22 September 2014. She stayed with them several days but later joined pair #9-05 and #13-03 and migrated with them to Green County, Indiana. She was in Jackson County, Alabama, presumably still with pair #9-05 and #13-03, until beginning migration on March 7 or 8, 2015. The family of three completed migration to Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on March 19. She migrated again in fall and returned in spring 2016, where she associated with male #11-09. As of Dec. 4, 2016, she was seen in Juneau County, WI with male 37-07 DAR but the pair then migrated to wintering grounds in Jackson County, Alabama. She and mate 37-07 DAR returned to Juneau County, Wisconsin in spring 2017, built a nest (she is only three years old!) and became parents on June 8 to W15-17, the first chick hatched to a parent-reared Whooping Crane! Chick W15-17 was still alive and well as of July 6 but sadly, 3-year-old mother #20-14's predated remains were found on July 3, 2017.
PR 21-14 (Female): white/red (PTT); red/green. She was released near an adult pair Sept. 22 but wandered and could not be located during an aerial survey on September 30. Location unknown as of Oct. 3. Found dead Oct. 8, 2014, before her first migration.
PR 27-14 (Female): red/green; green/white (PTT) Released near adult pair #25-09 and #2-04 on September 22 and migrated with them in November to Hopkins County, Kentucky. They stayed until March 23. With the adult pair, she completed migration to Necedah NWR in Wisconsin on March 31 and she was on her own shortly after. She wandered up to Minnesota and then back to Dodge County, WI, where she remained, and was spotted as late as Nov. 25, 2015. Spring 2016: PR female #27-14 and male #14-12 DAR were seen associating frequently in LaPorte Co, IN in March 2016 and in April the two were reported together near Grand Rapids, Michigan, so he is taking her on his usual spring detours. She made it back to Marathon County, Wisconsin, where she associated all summer 2016 with with 65-15 (DAR), also returned from Michigan. From early June until September 2016 the two remained in Marathon County, WI. but moved around a bit to nearby counties. Migrated in late November 2016, stopping at Jasper Co, IN before continuing to Wheeler NWR in Morgan County, AL, for the winter. She began northward migration (with 65-15 DAR) by end of Feb., 2017. She returned in late March 2017 to Marquette County, WI, where she was sometimes spotted with male #10-11.