Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – July 2019

Whooping Cranes 29-08 and 15-11 in Juneau County, Wisconsin

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month nesting season has come to an end, and chicks are starting to get big! 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 87 (40 F, 45 M, 2 U). This does not yet include wild-hatched chicks from 2019. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 July, at least 71 Whooping Cranes are in Wisconsin, 4 are in Michigan, and 1 is in Minnesota. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. See map below.

Click here to view our interactive “Where are the Whoopers” map for more details.


As of 1 July, we have had at least 25 first nests, likely 10 second nests and one third nest. We have had 19 wild-hatched chicks, 11 from 7 first nests and 8 from 7 re-nests. Currently, there are 5-6 wild-hatched chicks alive, shown below in bold.

Completed nests (since last update):

Juneau Co: 12-03/12-05 (hatch), 25-09/2-04 (hatch), 36-09/18-03 (hatch), 24-08/13-02 (hatch), 16-07/7-07 (hatch), 9-03/3-04 (hatch), 9-05/13-03 third nest attempt (hatch)

Adams Co: 3-11/7-11 eggs collected after 3-11’s carcass was found. One egg hatched in captivity.

St. Croix Co: 1-11/59-13 assumed nest based on behavior (failed)

2019 Wild-hatched chicks:

W1-19 hatched 3 May to parents 12-11/5-11 in Juneau Co and is still alive

W2-19 hatched 7 May to parents 24-09/42-09 in Adams Co and has not been seen since 23 May, when father 24-09 also disappeared.

W5-19 hatched 14 May to parents W3-10/8-04 in Juneau Co and was last seen on 31 May, when father 8-04 died.

W9-19 hatched 25 May to parents W18-15/19-10 in Juneau Co and is still alive.

W10-19 and W11-19 were first detected on 31 May with parents 5-10/28-08 in Marathon Co and are no longer alive.

W12-19 hatched on 2 June to parents 2-04 and 25-09 in Juneau Co and is still alive.

W13-19 hatched on 4 June to parents 18-03 and 36-09 in Juneau Co and is no longer alive.

W14-19 hatched on 6 June to parents 12-03 and 12-05 in Juneau Co and is still alive.

W15-19 hatched on 6 June to parents 16-07 and 7-07 in Juneau Co and is no longer alive.

W16-19 and W17-19 hatched on 7 and 10 June to parents 9-03 and 3-04 in Juneau Co, and W16-19 is still alive.

W18-19 hatched in Juneau Co to parents 13-02 and 24-08 but is no longer alive.

W19-19 hatched on 22 June to parents 9-05 and 13-03 in their third nest attempt this season, in Juneau Co, and is still alive.

2018 Cohort

W1_18 (F) is still in Marathon Co.

W3_18 (F) is still with 16_04 (M) at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau Co, WI.

W5_18 (M) was still in Juneau Co during June.

W6_18 (M) was last seen in Juneau Co, WI in early June.

W10_18 (U) was in Juneau Co, WI during June.

73_18 (F) and 74_18 (M) are still together in Dodge Co, WI.

75_18 (M) and 78_18 (F) were released and are together in Dodge Co, WI.

77_18 (M) moved to Washtenaw Co, Michigan.

 Mortality or Long-term missing

3_11 (M) died in early June and was collected 6 June in Adams Co, WI. His body was found next to his nest and his mate was nearby. We collected two eggs from the nest that were about to hatch, one of which hatched in captivity.  Cause of death was septicemia.

41_09 (M) died of unknown causes sometime during 2018, but his transmitter and remains were collected 3 June in Juneau Co.


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