Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – August 2021

Whooping Cranes W13-20 and 74-18 forage in Dodge County, Wisconsin.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, the first wild-hatched chick has fledged! 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 74 (37 F, 35 M, 2 U). This total does not include this year’s wild-hatched chicks. Fifteen of these 74 individuals are wild-hatched, and the rest are captive-reared. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 August, there are at least 67 Whooping Cranes in Wisconsin and two in Michigan. 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.

2021 Wild-hatched Cohort

Chicks listed below in bold are currently alive, as far as we know. Nesting season is complete, and there were 14 chicks confirmed to have hatched and up to four are still alive.

W2-21 (U) hatched to parents 3-14 and 4-12 in Green Lake County at the beginning of May. W2-21 is still alive as of the end of July and has likely fledged, although flights have not yet been seen.

W6-21 (U) and W7-21 (U) hatched to parents 27-14 and 10-11 in Marquette County. W6-21 disappeared in mid-July.

W8-21 (U) hatched to parents 38-17 and 63-15 at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County. W8-21 disappeared in mid-July.

W10-21 (U) hatched to parents 12-03 and 12-05 at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County and is still alive as of the end of July.

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

W14-21 (U) hatched to parents 25-09 and 2-04 at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County and is still alive as of the end of July.

2020 Cohort

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

W13-20 (M) is in Dodge Co, WI, with 74-18 (M).

W14-20 (M) is still in Juneau Co, WI, and has been seen with W6-18 (M) and W14-19 (M).

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

2019 Cohort

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

W14-19 (F) is in Juneau Co, WI, with W14-20 (M) and W6-18 (M).

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.

Mortality

W3-18 (F) was found dead during July, but the cause of death is unknown.

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