Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – March 2019

Whooping Crane 16-12 takes flight over his wintering area in Jackson County, Indiana.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, Whooping Cranes have started to move north, but haven’t migrated all the way back to Wisconsin yet. A huge thank you to the staff of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Departments of Natural Resources of flyway states, the International Crane Foundation, and all the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the Whooping Crane Eastern Migratory Population. This report is produced by the International Crane Foundation for the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership.

Population Estimate

The current estimated population size is 100 (45 F, 52 M, 3 U). To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 March, approximately 13 Whooping Cranes are in Illinois, 36 are in Indiana, 9 are in Kentucky, 3 are in Tennessee, 14 are in Alabama, 3 are in Georgia, 5 are in Florida and 1 is in Louisiana. There is also one female Whooping Crane from the Louisiana Non-Migratory Population (L4-17) at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Morgan Co, AL, who may still be associating with Eastern Migratory population cranes but was not seen with them during February. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. See map below.

2018 Wild-hatched birds

W1_18 (F) was last seen in November with parents 12_11 and 5_11 in Knox Co, IN. The family group was not seen during February.

W3_18 (F) and parents 24_09 and 42_09 are still in Hopkins Co, Kentucky.

W5_18 (M) is still with parents W3_10 and 8_04 in Greene Co, IN.

W6_18 (M) is still with his parents 1-04 and 16-07 in Lawrence Co, IL.

W10_18 (U) is also with its parents 4-08 and 23-10 in Greene Co, IN.

2018 Parent-reared Cohort

73_18 (F) and 74_18 (M) are still with their parent, 16_11 (M), in Jasper Co, IN. 28_17 (M) is also in the area and sometimes associates with the family group.

77_18 (M) is still in Sarasota Co, FL.

2017 Wild-hatched birds

W3_17 (F) and W7_17 (F) are both at Wheeler NWR in Morgan Co, AL, along with other Whooping Cranes.

2017 Parent-reared Cohort

19_17 (M) is still in Jackson Co, AL.

28_17 (M) is in Jasper Co, IN in the same area as 16_11 (M) and his two chicks (see above).

24_17 (M) is still in Alachua Co, FL.

72_17 (M) left Jefferson Co, TN and moved north to Cass Co, IN.

38_17 (F) is still with 63-15 (M) in Randolph Co, IL.

2017 Costume-Reared Cohort

7_17 (F) left Webster Co, KY and moved slightly south to Hopkins Co, KY. She is presumably still with 4_14 (M).

4_17 (M) and 6_17 (F) are starting to move around a little bit, and are currently in Hickman Co, KY.

1_17 (M) and 2_17 (F) left Wheeler NWR in Morgan Co, AL, and are currently in Vermilion Co, IL.

3_17 (M) is still in Morgan Co, AL at Wheeler NWR.

8_17 (F) was last seen in early February in Crisp Co, GA.


None known during February.

Story submitted by Hillary Thompson, North America Program Crane Analyst. Click here to learn more about our work in North America.