Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – January 2021

A Whooping and Sandhill Crane take flight on their wintering grounds in Jackson County, Indiana.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, most birds have stayed in their wintering areas, but a few have moved a bit 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.

Population Estimate

The current estimated population size is 80 (39 F, 38 M, 3 U). Seventeen of these 80 individuals are wild-hatched and the rest are captive-reared. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 January, there is 1 Whooping Crane in Michigan, 8 in Illinois, 37 in Indiana, 11 in Kentucky, 1 in Tennessee, 14 in Alabama, 2 in Georgia and 1 in Florida. 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.


2020 Wild-hatched Cohort

W3-20 (F) and parents 11-15 and 42-09 are still in Hopkins Co, KY, associating with 2-04 (M) and 25-09 (F).

W13-20 (M) and parents 38-17 and 63-15 are still currently in Randolph Co, IL.

W14-20 (M) and parents 12-03 and 12-05 are still currently in Knox Co, IN.

W18-20 (F) and parents 13-02 and 24-08 left Wabash Co, IL and are now in Madison Co, AL.

2019 Cohort

W1-19 (F) is still at Goose Pond FWA in Greene Co, IN, and has been associating with a group of 8-16 whooping cranes, including other young birds as well as breeding pairs.

W14-19 (F) is still in Greene Co, IN, with mate 1-17 (M). The pair has joined the large group of Whooping Cranes at Goose Pond FWA.

W19-19 (U) is still in Greene Co, IN, and has been seen in the large group of Whooping Cranes.

79-19 (F) is still in Greene Co, IN, with 74-18 (M) and has been associating with the large group.

80-19 (F) has been in Hopkins Co and McLean Co, KY and is still nearby W3-20 family and pair 2-04 (M) and 25-09 (F).

2018 Cohort

W3-18 (F), W1-18 (F), 74-18 (M), and W10-18 (U) are still in Greene Co, IN, in the large group at Goose Pond FWA.

W5-18 (M) and W1-06 (F) are still associating with the large group at Goose Pond FWA in Greene Co, IN.

W6-18 (M) left Goose Pond FWA in Greene Co, IN, and has been seen in Lawrence Co, IL with the pair 10-11 (M) and 27-14(F).

73-18 (F) and 3-04 (M) are still currently in Wayne Co, IL.

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

Mortality, Long-term missing

None known.


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