Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – Jan 20

Parent-reared juvenile Whooping Crane 80-19 gets to know wild-hatched yearling W3-18 in Indiana.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, most Whooping Cranes stayed on their wintering grounds. A few birds moved further south. 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 86 (41 F, 42 M, 3 U). To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 January, 34 are in Indiana, 9 are in Illinois, 2 are in Tennessee, 4 are in Kentucky, 20 are in Alabama, and 2 are in Florida. Based on previous winter sites, we assume an additional two Whooping Cranes are in Georgia and 3 are in Kentucky, however, they have not been confirmed during December. There was also one Whooping Crane from the Louisiana Non-migratory Population in Morgan County, Alabama this month. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. See the map below.

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

2019 Cohort

W1-19 (F) was seen during November with parents 12-11 and 5-11 in Gibson Co, IN, and this family group was not seen during December.

W14-19 (F) is with parents 12-03 and 12-05 in Knox Co, IN.

W19-19 (U) is with parents 9-05 and 13-03 in Greene Co, IN.

79-19 (F) is still with adults 67-15 and 3-17 at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Morgan Co, AL.

80-19 (F) is still in Greene Co, IN, and has been seen associating with adult Whooping Cranes.

2018 Cohort

W1_18 (F), W3_18 (F), W5_18 (M), W10_18 (U), and W6_18 (M) are still in Greene Co, IN, hanging out with other Whooping Cranes.

73_18 (F) and 74_18 (M) are still in Jasper Co, IN, and are sometimes seen with their parent 16_11 (M).

75_18 (M) is still in McLean Co, IL.

77_18 (M) moved south from Hamilton Co, TN and is now in Highlands Co, FL.

Mortality or Long-term missing

None known during December.

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