Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – February 2022

A single white Whooping Crane roosts among a flock of Sandhill Cranes on a sandbar. Text: Photo by Tina Bierly
A single Whooping Crane roosts on a river sandbar with a flock of Sandhill Cranes 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 Whooping Cranes have stayed on their wintering grounds, and some have even moved 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 78 (37 F, 38 M, 3 U). Eighteen of these 78 individuals are wild-hatched and the rest are captive-reared. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 February, there are at least 4 Whooping Cranes in Illinois, about 35 in Indiana, at least 6 in Kentucky, 1 in Tennessee, 18 in Alabama, 3 in Georgia and 1 in Florida. 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.

A map showing the locations of Whooping Cranes in the eastern United States. Text: Whooping Crane Locations 1 February 2022, Legend, 2021 Cohort, 2020 Cohort, 2019 Cohort, Adult WHCR, Map by International Crane Foundation

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

2021 Cohort

W2-21 (U) and parents 3-14 and 4-12 are in Seminole County, GA.

W11-21 (M) and parents 36-09 and 18-03 are in Greene County, IN.

W14-21 (M) is with parents 25-09 and 2-04 in Hopkins County, KY.

84-21 (F) is in Gibson County, IN, where she is with 5 other Whooping Cranes.

85-21 (M) is with 67-15 and 3-17 at Wheeler NWR in Morgan County, AL.

2020 Cohort

W3-20 (F) is in Greene County, IN, with W14-19 (F) and a large flock of Whooping Cranes.

W13-20 (M) was last seen in December in Richland Co, IL, with 74-18 (M), with W1-18 (F) nearby.

W14-20 (M) was last seen in Juneau County, WI, at the end of September.

W18-20 (F) is with 80-19 (F) in Morgan County, AL.

2019 Cohort

W1-19 (F) and 1-17 (M) are in Greene County, IN, with a large flock of Whooping Cranes.

W14-19 (F) is in Greene County, IN, with W3-20 (F) and a large flock of Whooping Cranes.

W19-19 (U) was last seen in Juneau County, WI, in July.

79-19 (F) and 16-11 (M) are in Jasper County, IN.

80-19 (F) is in Morgan County, AL, with W18-20 (F).

Mortality

69-16 (F) was found dead in Indiana during January. The cause of death is not yet known.

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