Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – June 2021

Whooping Crane pair 69-16/W10-15 tend to their chick in Juneau County, Wisconsin.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, many chicks have hatched! 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 75 (38 F, 35 M, 2 U). Sixteen of these 75 individuals are wild-hatched and the rest are captive-reared. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 June, there are at least 68 Whooping Cranes in Wisconsin, 2 in Michigan and 2 in Minnesota. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. Their last known locations (in the past month) are on the map below.

Click here to view our interactive “Where are the Whoopers” map for more details, including bios on each of the cranes.


As of 1 June, we have had at least 21 first nests and 2 renests.

Failed nests since last report: 2 in Juneau Co (predation), 1 in St. Croix Co (predation), and 1 in Juneau Co (full term).

In total, 7 eggs were removed from 6 nests to be raised in captivity.

Active nests: 1 nest in Juneau County and 1 in Marquette County which is past due, but the pair is still incubating.

2021 Wild-hatched Cohort

Chicks listed below in bold are currently alive, as far as we know. So far at least 13 chicks have hatched and up to 8 are still alive.

W1-21 (U) hatched to parents W3-17 and 30-16 in Green Lake County in April but disappeared by the end of May.

W2-21 (U) and W3-21 (U) hatched to parents 3-14 and 4-12 in Green Lake County at the beginning of May. W3-21 has disappeared, but W2-21 is still alive as of the end of May.

W4-21 (U) and W5-21 (U) hatched to parents 42-09 and 11-15 in Adams County in the beginning of May and disappeared at the end of May, when the carcass of male 11-15 was found.

W6-21 (U) and W7-21 (U) hatched to parents 27-14 and 10-11 in Marquette County and are both alive as of the end of May.

W8-21 (U) and W9-21 (U) hatched to parents 38-17 and 63-15 at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County. W9-21 didn’t live very long, but W8-21 is still alive as of the end of May.

W10-21 (U) hatched to parents 12-03 and 12-05 at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County.

W11-21 (U) hatched to parents 36-09 and 18-03 at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County at the end of May.

Two additional chicks hatched at the end of May to parents 24-08/13-02 and 69-16/W10-15, both at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. They will be given ID numbers once we check the nest cameras to see which chick hatched first.

2020 Cohort

W3-20 (F) was last seen in Taylor Co, WI in late May.

W13-20 (M) once again returned to Dodge Co, WI by the end of May.

W14-20 (M) and W1_18 (F) moved to Sherburne Co, MN during May.

W18-20 (F) and 80-19 (F) were last reported in Lee Co, IL during April.

2019 Cohort

W1-19 (F) is in Wood Co, WI with another Whooping Crane, we believe is 1_17 (M).

W14-19 (F) was last seen by herself in Isanti Co, MN during April.

W19-19 (U) is in Juneau Co, WI, with W10-18 (U).

79-19 (F) is in Dodge County, WI with 16-11 (M).

80-19 (F) and W18-20 (F) were last reported in Lee Co, IL during April.


11-15 (M) was found dead in Adams Co, Wisconsin on the 26th of May. Likely cause of death was predation. 11-15 and his mate 42-09 had at least one chick around the time of his death that also is now missing and presumed dead.

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