Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – September 2022

Whooping Cranes 31-16 and W2-21 prepare for fall migration in Green Lake County, Wisconsin, in early September 2022.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. In the last month, cranes have mostly stayed on their territories. 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 was produced by the International Crane Foundation.  

Population Estimate 

The current estimated population size is 75 (37 F, 35 M, 3 U). Eighteen of these 75 individuals are wild-hatched and the rest are captive-reared. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 September, there are at least 64 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.

2022 Wild-hatched Cohort

The chicks listed below in bold are currently alive, as far as we know. So far at least 14 chicks have hatched and two are still alive. The two oldest chicks have fledged and are now included in the population totals above.

W1-22 (U) has fledged and is still with parents 12-11 and 5-11 in Juneau County.

W4-22 (U) has fledged and is still with parents 1-17 and W1-19 in Portage County.

W11-22 (U) was captured at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County to be banded. During the examination, W11-22 had a wing injury about a month prior to capture that had healed in a way that would prevent them from flying and surviving in the wild. W11-22 was brought to the International Crane Foundation where it is now receiving care and treatment.

W12-22 (U) disappeared during August and is presumed dead.

W14-22 (U) disappeared during August and is presumed dead.

2021 Cohort 

W2-21 (U) has been associating with 31-16 (M) and 77-18 (M) in Green Lake County, WI.

W11-21 (M) is still in Juneau County, WI.

W14-21 (M) was last seen in Juneau County, WI, but was not seen during August.

84-21 (F) is in Juneau County, WI.

85-21 (M) is still in Green Lake County, WI, associating with Sandhill Cranes.

2020 Cohort 

W3-20 (F) is still in Adams County, WI.

W13-20 (M) is still by himself in Dodge County, WI.

W18-20 (F) was last seen in Jackson County, WI in June.

Mortality and Long-term Missing

25-09 (F) was last seen with her mate in May in Juneau County, WI. She has since gone missing, and her mate has been seen alone and then with another female. 25-09 is now presumed dead and is removed from the population total above.

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