Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – March 2023

Whooping Crane 5-10 on summering grounds in Lenawee County, Texas
Whooping Crane female 5-10 migrated to Lenawee County, Michigan, this month.

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. Most Whooping Cranes stayed on their wintering grounds in the last month, but a few started heading 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. The International Crane Foundation produced this report.

Population Estimate 

The current estimated population size is 73 (37 F, 34 M, 2 U). Sixteen of these 73 individuals are wild-hatched, and the rest are captive-reared. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 March, there are 12 in Illinois, 26 in Indiana, eight in Kentucky, two in Tennessee, 12 in Alabama and two in Georgia. 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.  

Whooping Crane locations 1 March 2023
Click here to view our interactive “Where are the Whoopers” map for more details, including bios on each crane.

2022 Cohort

W1-22 (U) was last seen with parents 12-11 and 5-11 in Lawrence County, IL, during December. This family likely moved further south, but their wintering location is unknown.

2021 Cohort 

W2-21 (U) is still with other Whooping Cranes at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Morgan County, AL.

W11-21 (M) was found dead in Greene County, IN, in February (see below).

W14-21 (M) is still in Hopkins Co, KY, with dad 2-04 and his new mate W14-19.

84-21 (F) is still in Gibson County, IN, with 25-10 (M).

85-21 (M) is still with other Whooping Cranes at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Morgan County, AL.

2020 Cohort 

W3-20 (F) is still in Greene County, IN, and has been with other Whooping Cranes.

W13-20 (M) is still with his parents in Randolph Co, IL.

W18-20 (F) left Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and was reported in Wayne County, IL, near other Whooping Cranes.

Mortality and Long-term Missing W11-21 (M) was found dead in February in Greene County, Indiana. We have not yet gotten the necropsy results; therefore, 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.