Class of 2020

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only wild-hatched chicks were added to the Eastern Migratory Population.

Wild-hatched Whooping Cranes


Died July 2023


Died fall ’21

Sex: Female
Hatch Date: April 30, 2020

Spring 2020: W3-20 hatched to parents 42-09 and 11-15. The chick grew quickly, and ICF staff successfully fitted her with leg bands. By July 24, one of ICF’s volunteer trackers saw W3-20 take her first flight.

W3-20 with mom 42-09. Photo by Bob Stoil

Fall 2020: After a lot of practice flying, W3-20 and parents left Wisconsin in late October, stopped in Illinois and Morgan County, Alabama only to come a bit more north ending in Hopkins County, Kentucky. We were able to remotely track them so carefully by replacing 42-09’s satellite transmitter this summer.  

Spring 2021: W3-20 headed Northward from Kentucky through Illinois with her parents. They all hung out for a few weeks in Adams County before 42-09 and 11-15 kicked her out to nest! She has been seen in Taylor County, Wisconsin this summer.  

Fall 2021: This fall W3-20 has been hanging out with another female W1419. Together the two have jumped around Indiana and Illinois. They are currently part of a large flock of whooping cranes in Greene County, Indiana. 

Spring 2022: W3-20 spent the beginning of 2022 in Greene County, IN, before migrating back to Wisconsin. Since arriving back, she has only been seen a handful of times, twice in Marathon County and once in Wood County. In each of these sightings, she was the only whooping crane, accompanied by two other sandhills. 

Fall 2022: During summer, W3-20 spent more time in Adams County, on her parents’ old territory where she was born. She was by herself there or sometimes with Sandhill Cranes. During fall, she migrated to Greene County, Indiana, where she has been seen with other Whooping Cranes, particularly male W11-21. We hope they will stick together! 

Spring 2023: W3-20 was seen in Greene County, Indiana, with other Whooping Cranes toward the beginning of the year before migrating in March. Upon migration, she was spotted traveling by herself or with Sandhill Cranes through Jasper County, Indiana, then on through Dane, Wood, and Portage counties in Wisconsin. Since then, she has been spotted in Adams County, Wisconsin with another young Whooping Crane, W1-22.

W3-20 arrives back in Wisconsin.
W3-20 arrives back in Wisconsin. Joe Riederer

Sex: Male
Hatch Date: May 17, 2020

Spring 2020: W13-20 is the first chick to hatch at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, which is very exciting for the Eastern Migratory Population! First-year parents 38-17 and 63-15 have done a great job raising their chick. ICF staff attempted to band W13 in mid-July, but the first attempt was unsuccessful, and they hope to try again. W13 is just old enough to fledge, but they have yet to begin flying.

One of W13-20’s first flights! Photo by Doug Pellerin

Fall 2020: W13-20, the first chick to hatch at Horicon NWR, fledged in early August! After a failed capture attempt, ICF finally captured and banded him after he fledged. He and his parents migrated in mid-November to their usual spot in Randolph County, Illinois. 

W13-20 with parents on the wintering grounds. Photo by Tom Bohrer

Spring 2021: W13-20 made his way back to Horicon NWR in March with parents 38-17 and 63-15. They kicked him out in order to nest again this year and he explored Wisconsin a little bit, and was seen in Outagamie and Fond du Lac before settling back in at Horicon NWR with male 74-18.  

Fall 2021: W13-20 spent the remainder of his summer with young male 74-18 at Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin where they were last seen on the 13th of November. There were no sightings of the pair on migration, but 74-18’s remote transmitter showed that he ended up in Lawrence County, Illinois. In late December we finally got confirmation that both 74-18 and W13-20 made it to Richland County, Illinois. 

Spring 2022: W13-20 migrated back up to Horicon this spring. He has been seen spending time in both Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties. He has not been seen associating with any other Whooping Cranes, and he and his previous companion 74-18 seem to have parted ways. 

Fall 2022: This fall, W13-20 was sometimes seen with 79-19, 16-11, and 16-11’s Sandhill Crane mate. During fall, the three Whooping Cranes were seen in Jasper County, Indiana, then the trio split up. Eventually, W13-20 was found in Randolph County, Illinois, hanging out with his parents!  

Spring 2023: In late March, W13-20 migrated back to Horicon NWR where he was seen with 79-19 and 16-11. W13-20 and 79-19 eventually paired and nested together at Horicon NWR in April and welcomed one chick! Unfortunately, this chick died after a couple of weeks, and more sad news came with the passing of W13-20 a few months later while molting.

Sex: Male
Hatch Date: May 10, 2020

Spring 2020: W14-20 was a surprise chick our pilot Bev found on her May 29 flight. Parents 12-03 and 12-05 are very secretive about their nesting, but luckily, we have Bev to find them and their chicks. W14-20 was captured and banded by ICF staff in mid-July. We have not seen W14-20 fly yet, but they are old enough to fly when ready!

Bev’s first flight and she found a surprise chick!

Fall 2020: W14-20 fledged at the beginning of AugustHe and his parents left Necedah NWR, WI in late October. They were seen in Winnebago County, IL on their way down to their normal wintering spot in Knox County, IN. 

W14-20 with parents in Indiana. Photo by Francis Newman

Spring 2021: W14-20 headed back north but instead of going back to Necedah he went to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota! After a few months of adventuring, he’s back at Necedah hanging out with W6-18 and W14-19 

Fall 2021: W14-20 was last seen in Juneau County, Wisconsin in September. Hopefully, he will show up somewhere down south.  

Spring 2022: The remains of W14-20 were collected at Necedah NWR this spring. He likely died sometime last fall, but the cause of death remains unknown. 

Hatch Date: 
July 2, 2020

Spring 2020: 13-02 and 24-08 hatched the last chick of the season at the beginning of July! This youngster was captured and banded by ICF staff at the end of August and fledged at the end of September. 

W18-20 with parents at Necedah. Photo by Hillary Thompson

Fall 2020:  W18-20 and her parents were one of the last ones to migrate at the end of November. They stopped in multiple states on their long journey down to northern Alabama at the end of December. 

W18-20 on the wintering grounds with her parents. Photo by Scott Lasater

Spring 2021: W18-20 has been associating with another female, 80-19, and the two were hanging out in Illinois together before they finally made it back to Wisconsin mid-summer.  

Fall 2021: 80-19 and companion W18-20 spent most of the fall in La Salle County, Illinois. From there, they stopped in Hopkins County, Kentucky, then migrated down to Wheeler NWR in Morgan County, Alabama. In Alabama, the pair have been seen in the same area as several other whooping cranes.

Spring 2022: W18-20 was missing for most of the spring. Thankfully, in early June, she finally turned up at Necedah NWR and was seen associating with 80-19. We have no idea where she has been for the past five months but are glad to see that she is healthy and safe! 

Fall 2022: W18-20 migrated during fall to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, where she has been hanging out with other Whooping Cranes. We’re glad to see she has some friends this winter! 

Spring 2023: W18-20 was seen a few times at the beginning of the year with other Whooping Cranes at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama. She was then reported during the spring with Sandhill Cranes in Dodge and Jackson County, Wisconsin. We hope she will find a buddy sometime soon!

Fall 2023: W18-20 spent her summer foraging and exploring Necedah NWR among other Whooping Cranes, one of them W1-06, whose mate has not been seen since August. W18-20 followed W1-06 to her familiar wintering grounds in Greene County, Indiana in early November, but their migration didn’t stop there. They were seen later in January at Wheeler NWR in Alabama, where W18-20 has wintered in the past! The two explored the area, interacting with the other wintering Whooping Cranes for about a week before deciding their vacation was over and it was time to head back to Indiana. The two are back in Greene County, Indiana now, and we are happy they each have found a friend along this journey!