Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – April 2019

Whooping Crane 24-08 in Juneau County, Wisconsin.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, most Whooping Cranes have completed migration and a few have started nesting! 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 9 April at least 64 Whooping Cranes are back in Wisconsin, 2 were last reported in Georgia, 3 are in Michigan, 2 may still be in Illinois, 10 were last reported in Indiana (although may no longer be there), 1 is still in Florida, and 1 is in Ontario Canada. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. See map below.


As of 9 April, we have at least 6 active first nests with an additional unconfirmed nest. There may be additional nests from pairs we have not been able to observe.

Juneau County: W1-06/1-10, 6-15/37-07, 2-04/25-09, 13-02/24-08, 12-11/5-11

St. Croix County: 1-11/59-13

Adams County: 24-09/42-09 (unconfirmed)

2018 Wild-hatched birds

W1-18 (F) was not seen during March but her parents are back on territory in Wisconsin.

W3-18 (F) returned to WI with parents 24-09 and 42-09, and is now in Adams County, near her parents’ nesting territory.

W5-18 (M) returned to WI with parents W3-10 and 8-04 and is now in Juneau Co.

W6-18 (M) returned to WI with parent 16-07 and her new mate 7-07 and is now in Juneau Co.

W10-18 (U) has not yet been confirmed in WI, but parents 4-08 and 23-10 are back on territory in Juneau Co, WI.

2018 Parent-reared Cohort

73-18 (F) and 74-18 (M) returned to WI with their parent, 16-11 (M) and 28-17(M). 73-18 and 74-18 are still together and are now in Dodge Co, WI.

77-18 (M) is still in Sarasota Co, FL.

2017 Wild-hatched birds

W3-17 (F) returned to WI with other Whooping Cranes and is now in Green Lake Co, WI with 11_15 (M).

W7-17 (F) has not yet been confirmed back in WI.

2017 Parent-reared Cohort

19-17 (M) returned to WI and is now in Marathon Co, with 2-15 (F) and 28-05 (F), the two females he originally migrated with as a juvenile.

28-17 (M) migrated back to WI with 16-11 (M) and his two chicks (see above). He was seen with 16_11 in Dodge Co upon their arrival, but has not been seen again in the area and has likely moved elsewhere.

24-17 (M) left Alachua Co, FL and is now in Lafayette Co, WI.

72-17 (M) has been moving around a ton this spring and is currently in Genesee Co, MI.

38-17 (F) returned to WI with 63-15 (M) and is now in Dodge Co.

39-17 (F) has been moving around a ton and has spent part of March and early April in Michigan, and is currently in Ontario, Canada.

2017 Costume-Reared Cohort

7-17 (F) has returned to WI and is currently in Marquette Co. She is presumably still with 4-14 (M).

4-17 (M) and 6-17 (F) have returned to WI and are currently in Adams Co.

1-17 (M) and 2-17 (F) have been moving around a ton this spring as well, and have made their first return to WI since their translocation to Indiana in fall 2017. They are currently in Columbia Co, WI.

3-17 (M) has returned to WI and is currently with 67-15 (F) in Green Lake Co.

8-17 (F) was last seen in early February in Crisp Co, GA.


None known during March or early April.

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