Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – June 2023

Whooping Crane adult and chick
W2-23 is growing fast and learning important lessons from parent 63-15 in Dodge County, Wisconsin. Doug Pellerin

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. During May, the first chicks hatched in Wisconsin! 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 71 (36 F, 34 M, 1 U). Fifteen of these 71 individuals are wild-hatched, and the rest are captive-reared. This does not yet include 2023 wild-hatched chicks. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 June, there are at least 60 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.  

Whooping Crane Locations 1 June 2023

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

2021 and 2022 Cohorts

W2-21 (M) is still in Green Lake County with W3-17.

W14-21 (M) has not yet been seen in Wisconsin this spring.

84-21 (F) and 85-21 (M) are still together and are now in Green Lake County.

W1-22 (U) is still in Adams County, sometimes with W3-20 (F).


So far this spring, we have had 22 pairs and 25 nests (22 first nests, three renests). Nine nests have hatched and produced at least ten chicks. Nine are still alive. There are currently seven active nests.

Nests that were completed by 1 June:

3 failed (1 in Green Lake, 2 in Juneau County), nine hatched (2 in Green Lake, 2 in Dodge, 1 in Portage, 1 in Sauk, 1 in St. Croix and 2 in Juneau Counties)

Active nests: 

Four first nests and three renests in Juneau County

Wild-hatched chicks (chicks listed in bold are currently alive):

W1-23 hatched to parents 10-15 and 4-13 in Green Lake County in early May.

W2-23 hatched to parents 38-17 and 63-15 in Dodge County in early May.

W3-23 hatched to parents 1-17 and W1-19 in Portage County in early May.

W4-23 hatched to parents 24-17 and 4-17 in Sauk County mid-May.

W5-23 and W6-23hatched to parents 4-12 and 3-14 in Green Lake County in mid-May. W6-23 disappeared during May, but W5-23 is still with their parents.

W7-23 hatched to parents 1-11 and 59-13 in St. Croix County in late May.

W8-23 hatched to parents 79-19 and W13-20 in Dodge County in late May.

W9-23 hatched to parents 15-11 and 29-08 in Juneau County in late May.

W10-23 hatched to parents W1-18 and W6-18 in Juneau County in late May.

Mortality and Long-term Missing

W10-18 (F) was last seen in June 2022 and is now considered long-term missing and is removed from the population totals above.


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