Whooping Crane Eastern Population Update – August 2023

Whooping Cranes W9 and W12-23 with parents in Wisconsin
A bird’s eye view of Whooping Crane juveniles W12 and W9-23 with parents in Juneau County, Wisconsin. Bev Paulan

Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. During July, we were busy monitoring chicks, some of which are close to fledging! 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 68 (36 F, 31 M, 1 U). Fourteen of these 68 individuals are wild-hatched, and the rest are captive-reared. This does not yet include the 2023 wild-hatched chicks. To the best of our knowledge, as of Aug. 1, there are at least 58 in Wisconsin and one 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 August 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, WI, with W3-17.

W14-21 (M) is at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County, WI, and was seen with W1-06 (F).

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

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


There were 22 pairs and 25 nests (22 first nests, three renests). Thirteen nests hatched and produced at least 14 chicks, three of which are still alive. There are currently no active nests.

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 but disappeared during late June/early July.

W2-23 hatched to parents 38-17 and 63-15 in Dodge County in early May and was found dead during July.

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

W5-23 hatched to parents 4-12 and 3-14 in Green Lake County in mid-May but disappeared during late June.

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

W12-23 hatched to parents 24-08 and 13-02 in Juneau County during early June and is still with their parents.

W13-23 hatched to parents 12-11 and 5-11 in Juneau County during early June and is still with their parents.

Mortality and Long-term Missing

W13-20 (M) was found dead at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in July. The cause of death is pending.

18-03 (M) hasn’t been seen since July 2022, is now considered long-term missing, and has been 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.