Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – March 2020

Whooping Cranes 4-17, 6-17 and 24-17 returned to Sauk County, Wisconsin, in early March 2020.
The trio summered together last year, and we are waiting to see how the pairing will resolve!

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, Whooping Cranes have started migrating north. 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.

Population Estimate

The current estimated population size is 85 (41 F, 41 M, 3 U). Fourteen of these 85 individuals are wild-hatched and the rest are captive-reared. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 March, 38 are in Indiana, 11 are in Illinois, 6 are in Tennessee, 7 are in Kentucky, 11 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. Many birds are currently moving north, so these locations change on a daily basis. 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 February.

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) left Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Morgan Co, AL, and is currently in Lawrence Co, TN, with adult Whooping Cranes.

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) have returned to Indiana and are in Sullivan Co with 69_16 (F), W10_15 (U) and 2_17 (F).

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

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.