Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – March 2022

Two Whooping Cranes stand in a harvested corn field. A line of leafless trees is in the background.
Female 79-19 was the first confirmed Whooping Crane to return to Wisconsin this spring (Dodge County). We were waiting for her friend 16-11 to return too, and guess what? We haven’t confirmed if these two are an official pair, but so far it looks hopeful! Photo by Doug Pellerin.

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, while some have started to head back 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 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 March, there is at least one Whooping Crane in Wisconsin, at least four in Illinois, about 40 in Indiana, eight in Kentucky, one in Tennessee, 11 in Alabama, and one 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 lower two-thirds of the eastern United States and the locations o Whooping Cranes. Text: Whooping Crane Locations 1 March 2022, Legend, Diamond symbol 2021 Cohort, Star symbol 2020 Cohort, Triangle symbol 2019 Cohort, Black circle symbol Aduct Whooping Crane, 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 were last seen in December 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 five 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 Hopkins County, KY.

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 Hopkins County, KY, with W18-20 (F).


No known mortalities were recorded for the month of February.

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