Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – Feb 2020

A Whooping Crane pair forages on their wintering grounds in Green County, Indiana.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, Whooping Cranes stayed on their wintering grounds. 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 85 (41 F, 41 M, 3 U). To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 February, 27 are in Indiana, 7 are in Illinois, 2 are in Tennessee, 8 are in Kentucky, 20 are in Alabama, 2 are in Georgia and 2 are in Florida. 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 or January.

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, with adult Whooping Cranes.

2018 Cohort

W3_18 (F) is still in Greene Co, IN, with other Whooping Cranes.

W1_18 (F), W5_18 (M), W10_18 (U), and W6_18 (M) left Greene Co, IN, during January and have not been seen since. Due to their association with 69_16 (F), it’s possible they are with her in Henderson Co, KY, but have not yet been reported there.

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

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

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

Mortality or Long-term missing

5_12 (M) has not been seen since February 2019 and is now considered long-term missing and is removed from the population estimate above. He was last seen on the wintering grounds last winter, but in spring 2019 his mate showed up on their territory without him. She nested with another male in 2019 and 5_12 has not been seen since.

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